If you were to summarize the future of the automobile with just two words, they would probably be these: autonomous driving.
One of the many car manufacturers that are actively driving the autonomous revolution is BMW, who has been engaging in the complexities of autonomous driving as early as 2006, when the company successfully managed to get a BMW 3 Series to lap the Hockenheimring circuit in Germany all by itself.
By the time 2011 came along, BMW was already confident enough to have highly automated test cars driving along the A9 motorway in Germany. Three years later at CES 2014, BMW decided to up the ante by having one of its automated prototype vehicles drift around the Las Vegas Speedway. Over the subsequent years, BMW’s automated vehicles gained the ability to park themselves — when prompted using hand gestures.
So, what’s next for the automotive giant?
If all goes according to plan, you can expect BMW to roll out its first highly-automated series vehicle, the BMW iNext, in 2021. The iNext will be capable of ‘Level 4’ and ‘Level 5’ autonomous driving. The former is defined as “Fully automated driving in urban traffic and – in a version with extended functionality – in traffic that is moving in the same direction and is segregated from oncoming traffic,” while the latter means that the car is capable of fully autonomous driving, and therefore doesn’t necessarily need a steering wheel nor pedals.
Check out the video below to see BMW’s autonomous driving in action: