BMW takes on motorways with autonomous tech
So how about sitting in the driver’s seat and doing nothing but watching the car drive for you? Well, that is exactly what BMW has been working on for the past few years; a car that drives almost by itself with the least possible driver intervention. BMW has indeed succeeded to a good extent with their autonomous assistance systems in beta stages, which means autonomous cars are not far from reality.
After lots of research and development with their TrackTrainer system, which allows autonomous driving on closed circuit race tracks, BMW now seems almost ready to hit a bigger milestone, which is the development of an advanced automated assistance function for the motorway; a system that shall accelerate, decelerate and even overtake slower vehicles and give way to vehicles merging into traffic flow by slowing down or changing lanes — all at the push of a button. The prototype here is a 5-series Bimmer equipped with a host of intelligent software, vision assistance systems and environment detection systems comprising of a myriad of sensor technologies such as lidar, radar, ultra sound and video cameras. The only things the prototype needs to be ‘familiarised” with are dealing with construction sites and motorway junctions.
Besides the automated assistance function for motorways, an advanced Park Assist system and a Traffic Jam Assistant are in their early stages of development. The former takes the park-assist systems to the next level by accelerating, braking and even shifting gears automatically between forward and reverse as necessary in tight spots, while the latter takes over complete control of the car in monotonous driving situations such as heavy traffic snarls.
We are unsure as to when the technology would be ready for inclusion in mass-produced vehicles. But when it does, it is sure to create some stir in the automotive scene. And that Traffic Jam Assistant would be what potential buyers in the UAE are probably looking forward to.