Currently reading: BMW to show autonomous concept as part of centenary celebrations
BMW could preview a production-ready version of its autonomous driving system when it celebrates its 100th birthday next year
2 mins read
31 December 2015

BMW is lining up an autonomous driving concept as part of its centenary celebrations next year, head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson has suggested.

At a briefing in London, Robertson talked extensively about the “moral dilemma” of fully autonomous cars - and then hinted that the firm would show new developments in this area as part of its birthday, which falls on 7 March.

“We’ve reached the ‘feet off’ phase of autonomy,” he said, “and now we’re in the ‘hands off’ and ‘eyes off’ phase, but only for brief periods. The next phase will be ‘brain off’, but while the technology could be there in, say, 10 years’ time, other factors probably mean it’s 15 years away.

“One of those factors is what you could call the moral dilemma. In a situation where a truck is going to hit your car, what does the autonomous car decide to do: save you by swerving out of the way, swerve into the path of another vehicle and possibly kill someone, or hit a pedestrian, or does it simply decide that, yes, the truck is going to hit you? We’re not ready for that.”

Asked about BMW’s preparations for its centenary, Robertson said: “There will be some products we will share. But while we will celebrate a century of being in business, we will predominantly be looking at the century ahead. Maybe what I’ve been alluding to will be the direction of that.”


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31 December 2015
..getting anyone to buy it phase. So few people pay £1,000'ish for the currently available self parking device (most fitments are to the dealer demo fleet). How many people will add this option for the minimum of £15,000 (absolute minimum at a guess) for a truly autonomous 3 series car? .05% probably. Still it gets them free publicity, bit like the hydrogen car scam.

31 December 2015

31 December 2015
I thought autopilot was standard on Tesla and a 2.5k refit for earlier models. The delay isn't going to be the dilemma over no win crash scenarios. The delay will be the whole new business model and responsibility. Car ownership wouldn't make sense for most people. Luckily there is plenty of competition outside of traditional car manufacturers. The interesting tipping point will be when autonomous cars are proven to be much safer than driven. I think it is sweden that has a zero deaths on the road target for 2020. It is somewhere like this that will legislate driven cars off the road at some point in the future. When we cross that tipping point it will be quick across the West. I think autonomous and EV will happen together.

31 December 2015
Emm interesting. Wiki'd it and Sweden had 5.1 (worse than Switzerland,Norway and not that different from Denmark,Spain) deaths per 100,000 cars the UK had 6.2 so about a 20% difference. In 2010 277 died (264 in 2013) on Swedish roads so to get to 0 deaths by 2020 is not going to happen, although it's still a great target though. You might be thinking of Volvo who's target is 0 deaths in their cars. As to Telsa, well much as I like Telsa and the other EV's out there it's not much more than a adaptive £2,500 cruise control that can only be used in certain conditions. "I think autonomous and EV will happen together" well EV is already here and I can't see self driving cars happening for 20 years and the addition of £20,000 to the cost. Just my opinion

31 December 2015
They have even given it a name. I agree they have someway to go which is why they may take more radical solutions.

People will make mistakes; the transportation system should be designed so those mistakes aren’t fatal.

In 1997 the Swedish Parliament introduced a "Vision Zero" policy that requires that fatalities and serious injurious are reduced to zero by 2020. This is a significant step change in transport policy at the European level. All new roads are built to this standard and older roads are modified.

There is a whole lot of detail on Wikipedia even parts of the UK have signed up to Vision zero. Who knows what that really means.

31 December 2015
I don't have firsthand experience but reading their description. From a hardware point of view it sounds as if they are usefully autonomous for extended periods on M and A roads. The obvious missing piece is automatic overtaking but that doesn't read as a hardware issue. It also reads as if they would be useful in slow moving traffic and parking as well. The next cheap step will be communication between vehicles. What the gap is between this and working on country lanes and adverse conditions is I don't know. I'm guessing smart roads will play a part at some point. I would draw parallels with mobile phones and the Web on the fringes then rapid adoption when capitalism kicks in.

31 December 2015
I'm sure the sales department won't be reaping the benefits of all the hard work. I mean... what's the point? Unless you're somebody who is unfortunate enough to find driving physically painful, or actually finds having fillings more enjoyable than jumping into your 'ultimate driving machine' and taking to the highways, or you're chauffeured around all day and really don't need to be paying for said chauffer anymore - who's gonna fork out for one of these things?

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