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Published Date: 20/02/2014

self drive technologyWe’re getting closer to a time where owning a self-driving car is a reality.

While the technology is not quite there yet, and there a number of regulatory hurdles to overcome, each year sees a new innovation and extra features. BMW have been particular innovators in this field, and recently showcased BMW ‘drifting’ car at CES 2014, while also continually adding to ConnectedDrive and other assist and safety features. You can learn more about how these technologies can work with your new BMW at a Cooper BMW dealership, allowing you to take advantage of some of the most advanced tech currently available.

Self-Driving Cars and the Future

The future of self-driving cars has involved a number of parallel developments across different industries. Google have been one of the leaders in terms of bringing autonomous cars to the road, and have developed radar and other sensing technologies to enable short road tests. BMW and other carmakers have also been working on car sensors and in-built maps that can remove some of the workload for a driver, and have also been building up safety features within vehicles. One of the main challenges has been creating a sensor system that will be able to pick up a range of obstacles when out on the road.

BMW’s Self Driving Car

BMW’s work on a self-driving car has most recently involved presenting ‘drift’ technology at CES 2014, whereby a modified M235i was able to handle tight corners on a track without manual steering; it achieved this by using radars and sensors that could predict and adjust steering to different angles. Self-driving BMWs have also been tested at the Nurburgring race track, and have been combined with Emergency Stop Assistant functions. BMW described how ‘the prototype illustrates the BMW Group’s aspiration to offers its customers a highly automated driving experience exuding emotional appeal - even at the car’s dynamic limit’.

Some challenges remain, though, in terms of how to make self-driving cars safe enough to actually work on the road and in the traffic. Development has therefore focused on combining a number of different autonomous and part-autonomous technologies, from self-parking, to improving links between smartphone apps and GPS sensors. BMW’s BMW ConnectedDrive has particularly been at the forefront of these changes, using multiple sensors and scanners around a car. You can view these sensors in action below:


The future of BMW self-driving cars will involve refinements to a technology that effectively works, but needs to be made as safe as possible. Investments are being made into testing out many of these features through ActiveAssist options for existing cars, which can help with parking, steering, and reacting to accidents. Many of these tests are being carried out on the BMW i3, which is already fitted with a number of safety and efficiency features. You can keep up to date with the latest on ConnectedDrive and other BMW tech features at your local Cooper BMW dealership, and can learn when they’ll be available with new models.

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