BMW and Continental Work Together to Design Self-Driving Cars

BMW 5 Series 1 photo
Photo: BMW
Following the statement that Herbert Diess gave Auto Motor und Sport a while back, BMW fans can calm down a bit. Self driving cars will not take the sheer driving experience out of BMWs. This feature will only be used when the driver is in peril or if you are trying to avoid a traffic jam or simply when you just want to relax when traveling long distance.

This week, BMW announced a new joint-venture with Continental in order to design and develop an autonomous driving system that could be completely functional by the end of 2020.

The end goal of this joint venture and all BMW efforts regarding self-driving cars is to achieve, in the near future, an accident-free kind of mobility, in order to reduce accident related deaths on the world's roads.

The venture will be taking place in 2013 and 2014 with the possibility to be continued even further if the results will be encouraging. The resulted cars/prototypes will be tested on public roads of Europe and especially from Germany.

The key feature these prototypes will have will be the recognition of intersections, toll stations, roadwork and national borders. "With our vision of highly automated driving, we are already developing the technologies and methodologies for a range of cutting-edge driver assistance systems. Partially automated driving functions of the near future, like the Traffic Jam Assistant, will mark an important step on the road to highly automated driving,” said Dr. Christoph Grote, head of BMW Group Research and Technology.

This is not the first time BMW started experimenting with self-driving vehicles. The Connected Drive system is the first step BMW took in this direction. This system allows the driver to access important information about traffic, has surround view, parking assistant and even a Teleservice Diagnosis system that helps you with minor issues when you're out of the reach of a BMW service.

Furthermore, in 2011 BMW managed to test an autonomous prototype successfully. The vehicle drove from Munich to Nuremberg on the A9 motorway with no driver intervention.
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