BMW has partnered with tech firms Intel and Mobileye with the hope that it will be able to put a whole fleet of fully autonomous cars into production by 2021.

The BMW iNext car, shown in its concept form in May, will be the basis of the self-driving range from the German manufacturer. It will draw on innovative systems and technologies created by its partners.

The news comes as rival car maker Tesla is being probed after a driver of its Model S died when the autopilot mode failed to see an 18-wheeled truck. However, BMW believes that, by the start of the next decade, automated driving technologies will make travel "safer and easier".

It is hoping to enable drivers to completely take their hands off the steering wheel and even eyes and minds off the road ahead.

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Ultimately, it wants its cars to even operate themselves, without driver or passenger.

The end results of the collaboration will be used to form a common platform that BMW will offer to other car vendors.

The first stage in achieving their ultimate goal is to deliver and test an autonomous prototype in 2017.

"At the BMW Group we always strive for technological leadership. This partnership underscores our strategy to shape the individual mobility of the future," said Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

"Following our investment in high definition live map technology at Here, the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building block to bring fully automated driving technology to the street."