BMW develops a self driving car (“without stuff on the roof”)

26 Feb, 2013

Can’t wait to have a car that drives itself? BMW and Continental announced today that they signed an agreement last month to develop an electronic co-pilot system capable of supporting highly automated driving. The main goal of the research partnership is to have highly automated driving functions ready for commercial deployment by 2020.

BMW reports that it has already clocked 10 000 test kilometers with a self driving car on the A9 motorway between Munich and Nuremberg. The prototype can brake, accelerate and overtake other cars autonomously (see picture), while adapting to the traffic conditions and adhering to speed limits and other traffic rules.

The most important aspects of self driving, according to BMW, are accurate positioning of the vehicle in a traffic lane and “robust recognition” of other vehicles around it. This is achieved by using 360 degrees sensing – just like the Google car.  Noteworthy: the BMW press release can’t resist remarking that it doesn’t need a huge installation on the roof to pull this off:

“The sensing is performed by a fusion of diverse sensing technologies including all round lidar, radar, ultrasound and camera scanning. Despite this 360 capabilitiy, there is little on the outside to tell this vehicle apart from a standard model.”

You can see the car in action on YouTube

[Source & photo: BMW]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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