BMW’s first true autonomous vehicle – coupled with an electric drivetrain – will arrive in 2021. The BMW iNEXT was already shown in concept form, but prototypes are now on the road around the world. The upcoming EV will be entering X5 territory when it comes out and that also makes sense as it will battle with offerings from Audi and Mercedes-Benz, which are similar in size.
BMW says the Vision iNext was developed to address key questions for the future of car – Autonomy Connectivity Electric Services. BMW CEO Harold Krueger said: “The iNext project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit.”
During the BMW AG, Conference Call Interim Report earlier today in Munich, Herr Krueger offered new details on the upcoming iNEXT:
“On the product side, the iNEXT is scheduled for launch in 2021. For the first time, we are combining electric and Level 3 highly-automated driving with high-end connectivity and a digitalised interior. All in one vehicle.”
“What this means for customers is: A completely new experience of mobility and everyday driving qualities, with an electric range of more than 600 kilometers.”
“In 2021, we will put a pilot fleet of 500 BMW iNEXT vehicles with Level 4 and 5 functionality on the roads. The necessary technical requirements and changes to international regulations and liability laws are currently in progress.”
“One thing will not change: Customer safety remains our absolute priority.”
Furthermore, the BMW boss also said that the next-level technology for autonomous driving will arrive past 2024, a fruit of the collaboration between Dailmer and BMW. The current self-driving platform is developed together with Mobileye.
The BMW iNext is powered by the next-generation BMW electric drive. It combines the ability to accelerate in less than four seconds to 100 km/h with a range of well over 600 kilometers. From the point of view of the BMW Group, the focus of iNext, however, is not on the electric drive, because in 2021 this will already be the new normal in the company.
BMW is working on creating different levels of autonomy that can be purchased by customers, as the biggest hurdle for the Bavarians is government regulation, not technology. At the introduction of the production iNEXT, the car will have a Level 3 autonomy.
The production model of the Vision iNext will be built at the Dingolfing, Germany plant.
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