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BMW to Sell Fully Autonomous Car by 2021

July 01, 2016

Photo courtesy of BMW.
Photo courtesy of BMW.

BMW Group, Intel, and Mobileye are collaborating in the quest to bring fully automated driving technologies into series production by 2021, BMW Group said.

The three partners, according to BMW, are committed to development of an industry standard and an open platform for autonomous driving. The common platform will address Level 3 to Level 5 automated driving and will be made available to multiple car vendors and other industries.

“This partnership underscores our strategy to shape the individual mobility of the future,” said Harald Krüger, BMW AG chairman of the board. “Following our investment in high definition live map technology at HERE, the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building block to bring fully automated driving technology to the street.”

The companies have agreed to a set of milestones. In the near term, they will demonstrate an autonomous test drive with a highly automated driving prototype. In 2017, the platform will extend to fleets with extended autonomous test drives.

To handle the complex workloads required for autonomous cars in urban environments, Intel will provide the necessary compute power. Mobileye will contribute its expertise in sensing, localization, and driver policy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines vehicle automation as having five levels:

No-Automation (Level 0): The driver is in complete and sole control of the primary vehicle controls — brake, steering, throttle, and motive power — at all times.

Function-specific Automation (Level 1): Automation at this level involves one or more specific control functions. Examples include electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes, where the vehicle automatically assists with braking to enable the driver to regain control of the vehicle or stop faster than possible by acting alone.

Combined Function Automation (Level 2): This level involves automation of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of those functions. An example of combined functions enabling a Level 2 system is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering.

Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time. The Google car is an example of limited self-driving automation.

Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): Vehicles at this level are designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles.

Full Self-Driving Automation With No Option for Human Driving (Level 5): Vehicles at this level are fully autonomous and have no option for human driving — no steering wheel or controls.

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