BMW Wants You To Use Your Autonomous Car For Hanky-Panky
Let’s be honest here for a minute. When you first heard about autonomous technology and realized that a car can drive itself, the thought of having car sex would have crossed your mind. I’m not judging you for it; movies have shown us that amorous activities in the car are viable and feasible. The Wolf of Wall Street’s opening scene, anyone?
Anyway, before you get distracted and drift away from this page, let’s talk about what BMW did. It released a short commercial for the iNEXT that promotes in-car sex. Well, now we know what the ‘Vision’ stands for in ‘BMW Vision iNEXT’! *wink wink*
BMW’s Latest Video Proves that Even The Dead Are Afraid of Self-Driving Cars
The age of autonomous or self-driving cars is slowly creeping up on us and, with each new year that passes, semi-autonomous technology is getting better and better as we inch toward the day when human driving could be outlawed altogether. With that said, a recent report provided by Cox Automotive points out that 84-percent of people surveyed would still prefer the option of driving themselves, leaving just 16-percent of those surveyed willing to give up full control. To make matters worse, the overall acceptance of self-driving technology over the last two years has fallen by 18-percentage points. That probably, at least in part, comes thanks to recent high-profile autonomous car accidents, like the fatal accident with one of Uber’s self-driving cars. As such, it’s not surprising that automakers are scrambling to prove that their autonomous technology is safe – we can always trust them, right?
In the video you see below, BMW has chosen one of its autonomous test vehicles with the co-star being none other than a scary-looking ghost in the woods. Naturally, the self-driving car stops in the middle of the road, long before it could run over the scary ghost because, you know, self-driving technology is just that good. As the video proceeds, the ghost opens the car door to find nobody in the driver’s seat, gets scared, and scurries off into the woods like a very naughty mouse that was caught in your kitchen cupboard. Then we see the phrase “NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF” flash across the screen.
This video can be seen in one of two ways. The way BMW wants you to see it is that its self-driving technology is so good that it can even stop for a lifeless entity in the middle of a dark wooded road in the middle of the night – a place where no car (or driver for that matter) really has any business being anyway. That’s great- BMW’s self-driving tech will stop for anything. Not that I’d want my car to stop for a ghost, ghoul, goblin, or any other form of the undead – can you imagine how useless autonomous cars would be in a zombie apocalypse? Anyway, YAY; it is super safe.
I, on the other hand, look at this video a completely different way. First off, why was this self-driving car in the middle of the darkest, creepiest looking wooded road in the middle of the night? Maybe the car had gone rogue after the passenger stopped to take a leak. A brave soul that would have been. But, I digress. I think the real message here is that even ghosts – the leftover souls of those that once walked this earth – are scared of self-driving technology. Now, that, my friends, is something to take note of. If a creepy ghost walking down a dark road in the middle of the night, with clear intentions of scaring the hell out of someone, is scared of self-driving cars, then shouldn’t we be scared of them as well? Anyway, it’s just a thought. Enjoy the video!
Good News: BMWs of the Future will have Driver Controls
Every automaker has different ideas on what the future of autonomous driving is. Volkswagen views its future cars as having no driver controls, a sentiment shared by a few others in the business. For its part, Lamborghini has no plans to go autonomous at any point, arguing that doing so would completely rob the driver of the very essence of what a Lambo is all about. Then there’s BMW. The German automaker has no intention of removing the steering wheel on their future autonomous vehicles. Apparently, Bimmer wants the wheel, and the driver controls to remain in its cars to give drivers the best of both worlds. Hard to argue against that sentiment.
Will BMW be the First Brand to Offer Level 5 Autonomy?
Just of nine months ago, Mobileye landed a deal with BMW to assist in developing Autonomous technology or future BMW cars. Just weeks later, Tesla and Mobileye cut the cord on their partnership. But, all is good in the world of autonomy as Tesla has soldiered on and BMW now claims that it will deliver Level 5 autonomy – in other words, a fully autonomous car – by 2021. Word was given to a panel discussion in Berlin by Elmar Frickenstein, BMW’s Senior Vice President of Autonomous Driving.
“We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with Level 3, 4, and Level 5 Autonomy.” But, he also went on to explain that the vehicle, which has yet to be announced, will have different levels of autonomy depending on where it is used. So, much like Tesla’s autopilot, it could offer full autonomous drive on the highway while still requiring human intervention within city areas or areas that haven’t been adequately mapped.
As things sit right now, Level 3 Autonomy still requires a human driver in place in case intervention is needed, but it’s theoretically hands-off when in operation. Level 4 will still require a human inside the vehicle at most times but will be hands-off and mind-off, meaning a car ride will be more about leisure or work than anything. Finally, Level 5 won’t require any human at all and is the endgame for autonomous technology as we know it now. Cars will be able to drive and function all on their own, which means the car can drop you off at work and return home to the wife. Or, it could take the kids to school on Friday while you enjoy sleeping in on your day off. It’s undoubtedly the future of cars at this point, and right now automakers are locked in a race to see who can get there first.
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All Eyes On Bavaria As BMW Promises iNext Autonomous Vehicle By 2021
The auto industry is just like any major business segment in that it’s made up of “followers” and “movers and shakers.” Followers are those who prefer that the industry chart a definitive course before getting on board with whatever new evolution arrives. By contrast, movers are shakers are those who define the industry moving forward. They are those who plot the course of business and are usually ahead of everybody else. BMW qualifies in the “movers and shakers” category, in large part because it has never been afraid to stake its name in the pursuit of development.
The German automaker is doing it again with the announcement that it’s iNext autonomous vehicle has been scheduled for a release in 2021. As many of you know, BMW’s iNext project has been talked about in the past, often in vague terms. Not much is known about the car at this point other than it’s going to be autonomous and that it’s going to be the first of a wave of autonomous vehicles that BMW plans to build in the future. The latest development here is the timetable, something that Bimmer has been coy about. But now it’s official out; the iNext is now scheduled for release in 2021, or one year after BMW goes full-on electric with its core lineup.
With the long-term goal now established, getting there now becomes the tricky part. BMW says that it’s well equipped to hit its target, thanks in large part to its new research and development campus in Munich that will serve as ground zero for its electric, connectivity, and autonomous projects. Once the campus is running on full volume, it will employ more than 2,000 people, a large swath of whom will join the 600 employees that BMW already has in its ranks, most of whom are already working on the company’s automated driving software.
Not much is known about the iNext project, but it has been reported that a lot of BMW’s future technologies could be used by the car, including the HoloActive Touch system that the German automaker is introducing at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Cross your fingers then that the technology’s debut goes on as planned.
In the meantime, we can at least expect BMW to create a new work structure among its employees with the goal of combining specific expertise in certain areas of development, which in turn could create a more efficient response and collaboration among these teams.
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5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together
4G hotspots in cars haven’t really been around that long, but it has already had a major impact on our daily commutes. It allows all of the semi-autonomous cars out there to communicate, and it has become the basis for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication that has helped to shape our future autonomous car network. Cars like the Tesla Model S can receive OTA updates, while kids can watch Netflix, and your creepy uncle can watch porn in the back seat during family road trips. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had 4G very long, but 5G mobile networks are on the horizon, and it’s a pretty big deal. Not only for those of us who are stuck to our cell phones 24/7, but for our cars as well. And that’s exactly why Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, along with various tech companies, have formed the “5G Automotive Association.”
In partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, the aforementioned luxury automakers believe 5G networks will open the door for better support in C-V2X communications and connected mobility solutions. As such, these tech and automotive companies are looking to work together by defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements, and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more; and running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large-scale pilots and trial deployments.
Alfons Pfaller, the Head of Infotainment Development for Audi AG, said, "Connected cars will shape the future of individual mobility, and next generation mobile networks will take car to X connectivity to a new level. The key to success is in cross-industry collaboration. This is why we set up the 5G Automotive Association where experts from all relevant fields are teaming up." And Sajjad Khan, the Director of Digital Vehicle and Mobility for Daimler AG, said, "The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity."
So what does all this mean to you? Keep reading to find out.
Leaked Ordering Guide Shows BMW 5-Series is going Semi-Autonomous
We already know quite a bit about the next-gen BMW 5 Series. We’ve seen it testing on public roads a couple of times, one of which revealed the basics of the car’s M Sport Package. We also know that is should be somewhat lighter than the current model and should make its official debut at the Paris Auto Show at the send of September. Now, Bimmer Post has come across a leaked ordering guide for the 2017 BMW 5 Series, with three distinctive driver assistance packages.
The entry level package, RPO code ZDA includes a head-up display, park distance control, rearview camera, and a parking assistant. Then there’s RPO code ZBD that BMW is calling the Driver Assistance Plus Package. This includes active driving assistant, parking assistant plus, blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, speed limit information, and surround view camera.
Then there’s the top-of-the-line package that’s being called Driver Assistance Plus II and brings true semi-autonomous features to the table. It includes automatic cruise control with stop and go, active lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, traffic jam assist, and active lane change. The ordering guide you can see here also exposes three different sets of wheels with or without run-flat tires, a large handful of metallic exterior paint options, various leather options, and M Sport Package, and a Luxury Package, among other things. This is a big move for the 5 Series, but don’t expect them to come cheap.
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BMW Set To Launch Autonomous Vehicles In China By 2021
BMW has its sights sets on launching autonomous driving vehicles in China and the timetable has been set for 2021. Speaking at a summit on artificial intelligence and robotics in Shenzhen, BMW senior manager for highly automated driving Maximilian Doemling made the proclamation about the German automaker’s ambitious plan to have fully autonomous vehicles hit the streets in five years.
It’s no secret that BMW is already hard at work developing the technology that it plans to utilize as part of the company’s “Project i Next.” The 2021 timetable has also been talked about before, most recently by BMW board member Klaus Froehlich, who spoke with Automotive News back in June 2016 about the automaker’s plan to roll out a flagship autonomous model by 2021.
Doemling took it a step further when he expounded on the potential functions of BMW’s autonomous technology, describing a self-driving car in its most literal sense: a car that drives, changes lanes, and does everything by itself, enabling the driver to do other things like play with a smartphone.
It’s an ambitious statement to make, even for a company of BMW’s size and stature. That’s especially true today when Tesla, the first company to roll out autonomous driving technology in its cars, has resisted from describing the system as “self-driving” in the wake of multiple crashes and accidents that have been attributed to the electric car maker’s Autopilot system.
Only time will tell if BMW’s version of autonomous driving will live up to Doemling’s description. What appears certain though is that the German automaker is confident that it will have its autonomous driving cars out on the streets by 2021 with China being one of the first markets, if not the first itself, to get them.
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BMW To Partner With Intel And Mobileye To Develop Autonomous Driving Technology
It’s safe to say that the race to develop autonomous driving technology is heating up as more and more automakers are looking to the tech industry in an effort to form partnerships with some of the biggest tech giants in the business. German automaker BMW appears to be the latest to do it, as the company just announced a partnership with computer chip manufacturer Intel and collision detection specialist Mobileye. This partnership wants to find solutions so that the automated driving will be put into series production by 2021.
The partnership is reportedly centered on Mobileye’s fifth-generation chips, called the EyeQ5. Information is minimal on what the chip’s capabilities are, but it is expected to give self-driving cars better reflexes by using real-time road mapping when drivers are disengaged. For its part, Intel is reportedly involved in the partnership to provide the central processor unit that will coordinate with Mobileye’s new software to translate the technology into future BMW models.
It’s worth noting that alliances between automakers and tech firms have grown in recent months, all because of the same pursuit of developing autonomous driving vehicles. Back in April 2016, Ford, Volvo, Google, and ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft all struck a deal to expedite their own development of autonomous driving technology.
BMW is in a unique position with its partnership with Intel and Mobileye as it can leverage the core strengths of both companies into its own development of self-driving vehicles. More details are expected to be revealed during a joint press conference that will be attended by BMW CEO Harald Krueger, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua.
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BMW To Invest In New Autonomous Tech Project
As the arms race for fully autonomous driving technology continues, BMW has decided to shift the focus of its “i” sub-brand from electrified drivetrains, to driverless cars. Automotive News reports that BMW board member Klaus Froehlich recently outlined the Bavarian automaker’s intentions to develop the tech as part of something he called “Project i Next,” and it’s rumored that 2021 is the target date for the debut of a fully autonomous BMW flagship model.
In addition to self-driving tech, the new flagship will also boast an advanced all-electric drivetrain. Since its introduction in 2011, BMW’s i division has focused primarily on the creation of plug-in propulsion systems, including those found in the hybrid i8 sports car and all-electric i3 hatchback. However, following the lackluster sales performance of the i3 (only 25,000 units sold last year, compared to nearly 400,000 preorders for the Tesla Model 3), it appears as though BMW will instead refocus its i division to work primarily on autonomous technology.
Despite the change in emphasis, its expected i division will still have a hand in the development of new electrified drive systems, including a longer-range i3 due out by the end of the year, plus a sportier i3 rumored to be revealed by 2018.
The news comes on the heels of the departure of four high-profile executives from the forward-thinking sub-brand.
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