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Self-driving, Autonomous driving, BMW News

BMW's senior vice president for Autonomous Driving, Elmar Frickenstein, said last week that the German automaker is on track to deliver an advanced self-driving car by 2021. 

This self-driving project puts BMW in closer competition with Mercedes, another luxury automaker that plans to start producing and selling autonomous cars in 2020.


(Picture Source: BMW)

This announcement by BMW comes shortly after Intel acquired Mobileye for approximately $15.3 billion. The German automaker has announced a partnership with both companies last year and is currently working with them to design and fine-tune its self-driving technology. BMW’s self-driving car will aim for full level 5 autonomy, but the automaker is also developing tech that corresponds to levels 3 and 4.

"We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with level 3, 4 and 5," Frickenstein said during a panel discussion in Berlin, explaining that the upcoming self-driving car will have different levels of autonomy, depending on how and where it is used.

To break it down, a level 3 car still has a steering wheel and the driver can take over if the car encounters a problem. Most automakers nowadays are aiming for a level 4 self-driving car, which is a car that keeps driver controls available but still can drive itself in certain conditions - just not in all possible conditions and environments.

BMW is clearly looking to become a leader in the self-driving-car department by aiming for level 5 autonomy. The leap to level 5 autonomy is a significant one, and not easy at all. A level 5 vehicle is capable of navigating roads without any human interference, which means the driver can nap, work, read a book, or do whatever while the car drives itself. This also means that there are several safety hurdles that BMW has to overcome before releasing this car.

BMW’s first full self-driving car will be inspired by the concept it has introduced last year to celebrate the company's 100th birthday. This suggests that the self-driving car will be a standalone model instead of an upgraded version of an existing model. There is no word yet on how much the car would cost, but a very high price is expected. The technology will trickle down to more affordable models eventually, but it’ll take a while.

In any case, BMW's fully-driverless machine is shaping up to be one of the most futuristic, most advanced cars on the road.


Source: Petrolhead Arabia

Posted by Maye Rosales on 30th March 2017