Ever since sci-fi movies hit the Hollywood scene, many car enthusiasts have imagined a world where cars drive themselves.
While we probably won’t be soaring through the clouds anytime soon, the future of self-driving cars is closer than we think! At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, BMW revealed a brand new self-driving 5-series, that’s a whole lot different than the 7-series version that was unveiled last year. The sedan model, although still a prototype, is a turning point for the luxury brand as it continues its pursuit of designing technologically-advanced vehicles for an evolving consumer market.
Judging by road tests along the Las Vegas freeway, the car itself is very impressive and is fully capable of driving on its own, even as you sit behind the wheel. It can also park itself with no driver input or interruption.
The parking feature is one of the most exciting benefits on the new autonomous 5-series. After the passengers and driver have been dropped off, the BMW can go and find a parking spot for itself--and lock its doors accordingly. BMW is still very much in talks about making this a reality, with the hopes of rolling this current prototype out in the next 5 years.
Here’s what we know so far:
If you’ve been driving for a while, the idea of jumping behind the wheel and driving 120 kilometres an hour without even touching the steering wheel might seem downright crazy--and even dangerous.
While BMW is keeping quiet about the majority of the details (because let’s face it, this market is competitive), the autonomous BMW will rely on technology that enables data from both on-board sensors and various other systems, which is then combined with a digital map for the lane-keep assist. Even if the car is in motion, you can take your hands off the wheel and rest assured that you will stay in your lane at the same speed. Plus, the self-driving BMW will let drivers experience plenty of other technologies inside the cabin of the car, like interactive touchscreens and navigation systems.
The new autonomous BMW is like no other self-driving car we’ve seen. While most come with very strict regulations, like a reinforced speed limit, the BMW more or less acts and follows the lead of real-time drivers, adjusting its speed as it sees fit to the current surroundings. The test vehicle that BMW debuted showcased Augmented Gesture Control - a feature that lets the driver point to various objects or buildings and the BMW will then relay information back. Want to know if the pizza’s good from that place on College St.? Just ask your car! While we’ll still have to wait and see if the technology is as good as the American reviews claim, the thought alone is very exciting, especially for fans and drivers of the BMW brand.
At this year’s CES conference, BMW announced its plans to have at least 40 self-driving prototype vehicles on the road in the US and Europe this year as the BMW Group works to secure an intel company to take care of further technology inclusions.