BMW, Intel, and Mobileye team up to test self-driving cars

BMW self-driving car test
Last year, BMW, Intel, and Mobileye announced a collaboration to develop technologies related to autonomous driving. The three companies are now shifting that collaboration into high gear, with plans to jointly test autonomous cars.

At a joint CES press conference, the three firms announced plans to put a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous BMW test vehicles on the road by the second half of 2017. The tests will help BMW achieve its goal of putting a self-driving car into production by 2021, and will develop a scaleable autonomous-driving platform that BMW, Intel, and Mobileye hope to market to other automakers.

Cars will be tested “under real traffic conditions,” BMW board member Klaus Frölich said in a press release. BMW will be in charge of driving dynamics, component integration, and will of course supply the cars. Intel will supply a computing platform, while Mobileye will offer its EyeQ5 processor, which processes and interprets images from a 360-degree camera system. Mobileye previously supplied cameras for Tesla’s Autopilot system, before the two companies parted ways.

Mobileye will also create a “sensor fusion solution” that combines input from cameras and radar and lidar sensors to make a virtual model of the environment around the vehicle. Mobileye claims the algorithms it will deploy to allow vehicle systems to interpret the environment have a degree of artificial intelligence.

Lessons learned from the test program will be applied to the BMW iNext, the company’s planned autonomous production car for 2021. The iNext is also expected to have an electric powertrain, combining the expertise of BMW’s autonomous-driving program with the work of its “i” division for green cars. The car itself has been described as a flagship sedan, equivalent to the current BMW 7 Series.

If it can meet its deadline, BMW may be one of the first automakers to put a fully autonomous car on sale. Nissan and Tesla have discussed launching self-driving cars within a similar time frame, while Ford plans to debut a fully autonomous car for ridesharing services within the same year as the iNext’s launch.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.