BMW takes to the road with a new driver system. However, in this instance, the human driver is relaxing behind the wheel, sitting calmly as the car has been highly automated, able to brake, accelerate and overtake other vehicles on the road.
The engineers at BMW Group Research and Technology have been working for many years on the development of electronic co-pilots to support automated driving in specific situations. Researchers have equipped a BMW 5 Saloon with intelligent software as well as vision assistance and environment detection systems, allowing the car to actually drive itself on the motorway. The prototype system can autonomously control acceleration and braking, and it can safely pass slower vehicles.
"This is an entirely new situation and experience for the driver - it is a strange feeling handing over complete control of the car to an autonomous system," says Nico Kämpchen, Project Manager for Highly Automated Driving at BMW Group Research and Technology. "But 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,"
Automated driving on motorways provides important information and experience that is essential in developing technologies that assist in keeping vehicles safely on track, and this information will influence future strategies for advanced driver assistance.
"The next thing we want to 'teach' our prototype is how to deal with road construction sites and motorway junctions. Construction sites are a big challenge because they take on all kinds of forms, which makes detection, localisation and determining the right vehicle response quite difficult," continues Nico Kämpchen. He and his team have plenty of work to do and are looking forward to finding solutions to these challenges as well.
EuroNCAP awards BMW X3 5 stars
In separate news from the German automaker, their new BMW X3 has just earned the full 5 stars from Euro NCAP. The second-generation Sports Activity Vehicle earned top marks in EuroNCAP's tests for new vehicles thanks to its comprehensive range of standard safety equipment and effective occupant protection in various types of collisions.
The test procedure of the NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) ranks as one of the most rigorous tests worldwide to which new vehicles are subjected. The test profile includes, among other aspects, a frontal collision, a side-on crash and a side impact against a steel post. Since 2009, electronic safety features have also been taken into account, along with additional injury risks in a wide range of collisions.