Look ma, no hands: BMW starts testing automated driving with 5-Series ConnectedDrive

BMW has been doing a lot of work lately on automated driving systems, with the BMW TrackTrainer and Emergency Stop Assistant. The brand is now taking it a step further with Highly Automated Driving, a project lead by Dr. Nico Kampchen, designed for everyday use on roadways.

A BMW 5-series has been used as a tester in a variety of daily situations, and those that may not come up as often. Cameras, maps, and sensors are all used in conjunction with more refined technologies, to accurately assess the location and situation the vehicle is in, and allow it to function for the driver.

Kampchen describes what it is like to use the system, explaining that “This is an entirely new situation and experience for the driver – it is a strange feeling handing over complete control of the car to an autonomous system. But after a few minutes of experiencing the smooth, sovereign safe driving style, drivers and passengers begin to relax somewhat and trust the independent system. Nevertheless, the driver is still responsible for the situation at all times and must constantly keep an eye on traffic and the surroundings.”

The system is activated with the push of a button, and is being developed with safety as a main objective, like the Emergency Stop Assistant. Researches are still testing to be sure that they put the vehicle in as many traffic situations as possible, to eventually turn the driver into a passenger.

By: Alexandra Koken