Automated driving is old news at this point thanks to a DARPA project, which pitted a handful of engineers against one and other over the last few years. Their challenge was to outfit a production car with a system that allowed it to traverse a course without a driver a the steering wheel. Now, BMW has developed their own automated driving system that combines a variety of sensors and has already logged time on a public highway in Germany.
The system uses 4 types of sensors: a camera, a laser, a radar and ultrasonics. The car appears to be an everyday 5 series BMW, but step inside and you’ll see that it has been outfitted with a variety of screens and a computer system that combines the data collected from the sensors, along with GPS information, to drive itself. The team of BMW engineers have also taken into account all the street laws, ensuring that this car of the future obeys all speed laws and never passes other vehicles on the right. Because the system is built to learn as it drives, it can handle entirely new situations, meaning it can work on a variety of roads and in theory different countries. However, keep in mind that BMW hasn’t said that ConnectedDrive Connect will ever be designed to operate without a driver behind the steering wheel.
But before you get too excited, you won’t see this tech emerge into the consumer marketplace for at least another 10 years. But until then you can enjoy the above video, which shows the technology off in a real world driving situation.