Last August we went for an interesting drive around Laguna Seca in BMW’s Track Trainer, a modified 3 Series built on the standard production of the 330i model. The car uses a built-in GPS, a signal booster and accompanying repeater (increasing bandwidth and accuracy down to the centimeter), a custom map of the track and a trained driver to showcase the perfect racing line.
In the next iteration of the autonomous technology, a BMW 5 Series was used to showcase the improvements. The ConnectedDrive Connect (CDC) system allows the driver to keep hands off the wheel of the 5 Series while speeding down on the Autobahn.
“The car adheres to all traffic laws,” says the narrator in the video. With the CDC system, the car can brake, accelerate and pass other vehicles while analyzing the traffic conditions. This BMW system uses radar, cameras, laser scanners, and ultrasound distance sensors to get the information it needs.
BMW says that the CDC system can also steer the car to pass a slower vehicle by searching an open lane where it can safely merge.
“Our main challenge was to develop algorithms that can handle entirely new situations. In principle, the system works on all freeways that we have mapped out beforehand with [a] centimeter accuracy,” said Nico Kaempchen, project manager of Highly Automated Driving. at BMW Group Research and Technology.
In the first electric vehicle, the i3, BMW will offer a “traffic-jam” feature that allows the car to speed up, slow down, and steer on its own at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour, as long as the driver leaves a hand on the wheel.