Continental has been hard at work on vehicle autonomy for many years. In fact, U.S.-based Continental representatives testified in front of the Michigan state board of transportation last week, urging local lawmakers to pass a bill legalizing autonomous vehicles in the state. Currently Continental is licensed to operate self-driving cars in Nevada.
According to the Continental press release, BMW aims to have partially automated vehicles on the road by 2016. By 2020, it aims to have highly automated cars piloting the public roads, with fully automated cars by 2025.
The BMW and Continental move is essential for BMW to keep up with its competitors. Audi has fully autonomous cars on Nevada motorways presently. Mercedes-Benz is set to debut partial autonomous technology on its upcoming 2014 S-Class. It would appear that although BMW is a bit behind the curve, the German luxury automaker stands to gain a great deal of knowledge from Continental. Continental pledges to invest over $1.3-million into vehicle autonomy in 2013 alone.
Once the BMW and Continental-created cars are ready for the roadways, they’ll be given to a select group of trained testers. Continental and BMW are keen to see how the self-driving cars perform when they encounter diverse driving scenarios such as interchanges, tollbooths, and road construction.