Skip to main content

A BMW you can nap in is just a few short years away

2021 bmw inext news rumors autonomous features vision next 100 317
Image used with permission by copyright holder
BMW, the self-proclaimed purveyor of the ultimate driving machine, says it will roll out the ultimate self-driving machine by the year 2021.

The first Bimmer with level-five autonomy will make its global debut a short year into the next decade, according to Elmar Frickenstein, senior vice president of the company’s autonomous driving division. Level five autonomy denotes a car that does not require any kind of human input to get from point A to point B — even in the snow or on roads with no lane markings. All the driver has to do to become a passenger is set an address in the navigation system.

The announcement comes shortly after Intel acquired Mobileye for approximately $15.3 billion. BMW is working closely with both companies to design and fine-tune its self-driving technology. Currently, engineers are developing tech that corresponds to levels three, four, and five.

BMW’s first full self-driving car will be inspired by the 23rd-century-esque Vision Next 100 concept (pictured) introduced last year, which suggests it will be a standalone model instead of a teched-up version of an existing car. It will be positioned near — if not at — the top of the BMW i lineup with a price tag to match; don’t expect a base-model 2 Series to come standard with level-five autonomy in 2021. The technology will gradually trickle down to smaller, more affordable cars, but it’ll take a while.

The leap to level-five autonomy is a significant one. In theory, the driver can nap, work, or read a book while the car drives itself, so designers have more freedom to explore new ideas as they draw the cabin. For example, the futuristic retractable steering wheel relentlessly showcased on countless concept cars in recent years could become a reality in a car with level five autonomy. Installing a driver’s seat that swivels is possible, too, though there are safety hurdles — such as where to place the front airbags — to overcome first.

Regardless, BMW’s ultimate self-driving machine is shaping up to be one of the most futuristic cars on the road.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
5G at CES 2020: Here’s what you can expect to see at this year’s show
CES 2019

5G will no doubt loom large at CES 2020. We're now at the point where the technology has real-world applications, and the nation's carriers are building out their 5G networks as we speak. While the main 5G show won't happen for another few weeks until Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in February, a fair amount of 5G devices and technologies will make their debut in Vegas this week.

To help guide you on what to expect, we've come up with a few central themes that we think you should keep your eyes out for during the show. While there might be some surprise revolutionary announcements, a good deal of what we'll see will be evolutionary and build upon the work of component manufacturers and carriers to prepare for 5G's long-awaited, broader 2020 rollout.

Read more
BMW recalls 257,000 cars to ensure owners can’t turn off the rearview camera
2020 bmw x5 m x6 get 600 horsepower v8 competition package x5m

BMW is recalling nearly every single car it has made since 2018 -- plus two Rolls-Royce models and a lone Toyota -- to fix a minor problem with the rearview camera. The issue isn't linked to accidents or injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explained motorists can turn down the screen's brightness to the point where the rearview camera's footage is no longer visible. This is like turning down the brightness on your smartphone; if you step outside in broad daylight, you might not see what's showing on the screen, and you might think the device is off. Modern phones normally have built-in light sensors that make the screen brighter, but cars lack this feature so the rearview camera becomes unusable unless motorists find a way to turn the brightness back up.

Read more
BMW previews the next 4 Series with a concept car you’ll either love or hate
bmw concept 4 previews the 2021 series coupe at 2019 frankfurt auto show p90364624 highres



Read more