The Fully Autonomous BMW – Sit Back Relax, Let the BMW Drive!
Imagine this spooky setting – a dark and cold night, a 7 Series is driving through the woods; Its headlights are piercing through the misty forest, illuminating the road ahead. It might not be spooky at all especially for someone riding in an autonomous BMW developed at the BMW Autonomous Driving Campus.
Experts have defined five levels in the evolution of autonomous driving. Each level differs in the extent to which a car takes over tasks and responsibilities from its driver. From driver-only to robo-taxi- the levels 0 to 5 are defined according to their relative extent of automation.
Skeptical? Go ahead and take a look at this 1 minute video by BMW.
BMW says that with customer safety at top priority BMW is meeting these challenges head on with innovative automation technologies. BMW claims that their engineers and technicians have been working on driver assistance systems since the 1990s – a time when autonomous driving was still only found in science fiction books or films. Interestingly the Movie- Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in 2017 featured a sleek gizmo like BMW 5 F. Today the auto industry is at the threshold of ushering a new era – of highly automated driving.
All BMW vehicles offer automation- level one and many even offer level two as reported by the BMW official website. Examples of this include the Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, which independently adjusts the distance to the car in front of you. And it’s Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Brake Activation prevents collisions via automatic braking.
The partly autonomous driving BMW hands on the wheel-Functions are already installed in the latest BMWs on the street. They can brake automatically and their remote-controlled parking function, enable the BMW to pull into tight spots without a driver for the first time. Still in level 2, the driver continues to remain in control of the car.
Future BMW Personal CoPilot systems of the third development stage drivers will be able to hand over complete control to the car and enjoy more freedom under certain conditions. These conditional automation systems will allow the car to drive autonomously over long distances in certain traffic situations, such as on motorways.
Fully Automated Driving
The technology in level 4 is developed to the point that a car can handle highly complex urban driving situations, such as the sudden appearance of construction sites, without any driver intervention.
The driver, however, must remain fit to drive and capable of taking over control if needed. If the driver ignores a warning alarm, the car has the authority to move into safe conditions, for example by pulling over.
Full Automation: (No driver!)
The “Full Automation” of level 5 is where true autonomous driving becomes a reality: Drivers don’t need to be fit to drive and don’t even need a license. The car performs all driving tasks – there isn’t even a cockpit. Therefore every person in the car becomes a passenger, opening up new mobility possibilities for people with disabilities, for example. Cars at this level will need to meet stringent safety demands and will only drive at relatively low speeds within populated areas.
With the goal of reaching their automated cars in the consumer market by 2021 BMW research vehicles have been testing highly automated driving on public roads for several years now.