Numerous automakers have been dabbling in autonomous driving systems and BMW appears to be the latest. The German automaker has racked up more than 3,100 miles using a 5-Series sedan outfitted with autonomous tech.
BMW’s “intelligent” vehicle utilizes radar, lidar, ultrasound, video and highly detailed GPS maps to sense the vehicle’s position in relation to its surroundings. Not only has the system proved to be effective in heavy traffic, but it can also merge and pass with ease.
“After a few minutes of experiencing the smooth, sovereign and safe driving style, drivers and passengers begin to relax somewhat and trust the independent system,” said project manager Nico Kämpchen. “Nevertheless, the driver is still responsible for the situation at all times and must constantly keep an eye on traffic and the surroundings.”
Manheim Used Cars told us the autonomous sedan is the largely the result of the automaker’s partnership with the German government’s SmartSenior Initiative. Technology developed through this program is aimed at detecting situations where drivers are unable to drive due to some type of medical emergency. If such as a situation was detected, systems would then automatically take control of the vehicle and pull it over to the shoulder.
By combining GPS data, radar, lidar, and ultrasound, there are numerous technological redundancies that act as fail-safes. By using this assortment of technologies, it provides greater peace of mind for drivers.
Other automakers actively researching autonomous driving systems include Audi, which Audi Service Orange County said had a driverless car reach the top of Pikes Peak last year, and Volvo, which Volvo Dealerships Hillsborough confirmed is developing semi-autonomous road trains. Google has also racked up plenty of miles with its fleet of driverless Toyota Prius hybrids.
BMW has also fitted autonomous driving technology to a 3 Series. You can watch this vehicle hit the track via the video below.