Cadillac and Audi might already tour their semiautonomous driving systems, but BMW is taking some more time before rolling out a high-speed self-driving system. BMW is spending the next couple of years working with suppliers and testing prototypes to ensure the automaker can introduce a system that can operate at high speeds in most highway driving situations, with the added benefit of being a backup operator in fully automated vehicles.
BMW's system won't be available until 2021, which puts it several years behind competitors. BMW chose to wait until it could introduce a system capable of driving at speeds up to 80 mph and making driving decisions such as lane changes on its own. To get there, the automaker is relying on partners and the ability to quickly build the system up to higher levels of autonomy. BMW plans to roll out its Level 3 system with the iNEXT electric crossover in 2021. In the meantime, it plans to deploy a fleet of 100 autonomous 7-series test vehicles. Forty of the vehicles will be operating worldwide by year end, and all 100 are to be on the road by 2019.
BMW is building its system with chipmaker Intel and camera sensor supplier Mobileye, which this year became an Intel subsidiary. The group is also working with Delphi, Continental, Magna and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to integrate the system into other automakers' vehicles.