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.”