There is not a screenplay for a SF movie or how I imagine the cars in the coming years. This article is based on BMW 5 Series which doesn’t require a driver (just in some situations for the moment). This car is an autonomous intelligent robot with capabilities to recognize the environment and drive itself controlled by algorithms developed after years of research.
At this moment when this article is written the car can’t be used in an autonomous way on the roads. But the time when the car will be used on the road as an intelligent robot to carry us to the desired place without a driver at the steering wheel is very close. Most advanced self-driving car is the Google car to drive itself capabilities for hundreds of thousands of miles without having an accident.
The BMW self driving 5 Series project was started in 2011 and is in continuous development while already tested systems are installed on actual cars. BMW ConnectedDrive is a system which uses sensors and video cameras to detect and recognize the objects from the environment. Sensors list includes a LIDAR radar used to detect objects from large areas, ultrasound sensors are used for short distances, and video cameras to read road signs.
The Internet is a powerful resource of information and is used to search information and find answers about what interests us. In this way the BMW car becomes a robotic personal assistant which offers us a full suite of applications that make the travel more enjoyable.
Once the sensors require open space to run, they change the design of the car and this is one of the problems on the list solved by BMW engineers. Compared with Google car, the BMW 5 Series prototype hides very well almost all systems used to become an intelligent car.
BMW engineers estimate that until 2040 around 75% of cars will drive itself, an opinion based on latest events when more and more company invests in self driving car projects.
The BMW self driving car was tested on highways to assist the driver in difficult situations including speed limit exceeded or when the driver looses the control of the car. One possible scenario is when the car detects an obstacle and the system choose an alternative route and return to the normal route, all of these at a speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) where the control can be lost easily.
The aim of BMW group is to integrate this system on a mass production car until 2014, a new reason for BMW to become a premium robotic car manufacturer.
The nest step for researchers and engineers is to create a system and an algorithm responding to situations that may occur in traffic. Once the car is part of the traffic, it is subjected to events that cannot be anticipated, only prevented using artificial intelligence.
Someone now working on future car and this is not the cheapest car, it could come at a price around $200,000.
BMW design and build premium cars recognized anywhere in the world and this will continue with premium robots that will behave as a taxi driver who needs the address where to get. These autonomous robots will provide us with the comfort and safety that we need, as a personal assistant the car will be an extension of our brain while we will just have to create wishes.