OpenRoad Driver Volume 14 Issue 1 - Page 66

66 » OpenRoad Driver BMW’s Vision of Automated Driving Words and photos by Andrew Ling » Every January the world’s media swarm Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. Now in its 50 th year, CES is a global consumer electronics and technology tradeshow that showcases the hottest tech gadgets of tomorrow. With technology increasingly prevalent in cars today, BMW invited us for an exclusive sneak peek of its advances in automated driving, intelligent connectivity, and control and display systems. BMW’s engineers were still wary of calling our demonstrator an autonomous vehicle, but rather a preview of the Level 3 autonomous car that should reach production status by 2021. Key to our preview was the all-new BMW 5 Series sedan equipped with Personal CoPilot. Already packed with loads of driver aid technology in its current production form, the prototype 5 Series was remarkably unchanged despite its self-driving capabilities. However, the prototype relied on a special laptop in the trunk which could cross-check the vehicle’s position against a highly detailed roadmap, resulting in very accurate lane-keeping. Rather than just showcase an autonomous vehicle like other manufacturers at CES, it was uniquely eye-opening to witness BMW’s overall vision of how a Personal CoPilot car could be integrated into our future lives. Working through the car’s link- up with their Open Mobility Cloud and the BMW Connected personal mobility companion app, the systems work in tandem to consider the driver’s appointments of the day and contacts to automatically calculate an optimal drive route with segments that can be safely conducted in autonomous mode. No longer needing to operate the controls when behind the wheel, drivers can use this freed-up time to relax or plan the rest of their day. To showcase this, BMW equipped our prototype 5 Series with a special tablet. Once the car was in Passenger mode, we were allowed to stream movies via Amazon Prime Video and order needed items online through Prime Now. The car even automatically dimmed the interior lights and closed the rear sunshades when a movie was selected. Additionally, the car’s iDrive system was able to pull up local points of interest and read out TripAdvisor-style information related to these places. BMW’s CES 2017 preview provided us with a glimpse of how we could travel around in the near future, what we can expect of a car’s interior, and how we might want to experience a journey. From what we saw in Las Vegas, the future is very friendly indeed.