BMW is jumping into the self-driving car arena, with a little help from a tech giant.
The carmaker announced it would join forces with Intel and Mobileye (a tech company that creates vision-based advanced driver-assistance systems) to make self-driving cars a reality in the next four years.
Next Up… iNEXT
The collaboration is called BMW iNEXT model and it will be the foundation for BMW Group’s autonomous driving strategy and the basis for fleets of self-driving vehicles, not only on highways but also in urban environments to advance automated ridesharing options.
Executives from the three companies say the goal of the partnership is to develop a kind of future-proofed autonomy solution (referred to as “levels” of autonomy) that will allow drivers not only to take their hands off the steering wheel but also reach what’s called “eyes off” (Level 3) and ultimately the “mind off” (Level 4) level, which would transform the driver’s experience into leisure or work time. This level of autonomy would enable the vehicle to achieve the final stage of traveling “driver off” (Level 5) without a human driver inside the car. In addition to a new fleet of self-driving cars, BMW says its laying the foundation for totally new business models in our increasingly connected, mobile world.
Prototypes and Test Drives
Soon, the companies will demonstrate an autonomous test drive with a highly automated driving (HAD) prototype. In 2017, the platform will expand to fleets with extended autonomous test drives of self-driving cars.
“Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.
He goes on to say the combination of in-vehicle and cloud computing and connectivity will merge with safety and security technologies to create a truly end-to-end solution.
These next-generation, self-driving cars will be available for BMW enthusiasts in 2021.