BMW released today more information on their upcoming Personal Pilot, BMW speak for Level 3 driving assistance features. It’s finally coming to the 7 Series in Germany where customers will be able to order the technology from December, with deliveries planned for March 2024. But buried in a press release today was also an interesting take on the iconic BMW kidney grille. Granted, we don’t know if this is indeed a production series 7 Series – pun intended – kidney grille, but it was featured in their promo photos.
If you take a look at the image below, you will immediately spot some weird trapezoidal shapes at the top of the kidney. It almost looks like the vertical slats of the imposingly large kidney grille have been chopped off to make room for the new sensors. Naturally that has raised some eye brows already since the kidney grille has always been a quite controversial design piece on the luxury limousine.
Weird Grilles Got Weirder
It’s also unclear how this will translate into the real world because based on what we know, future BMW 7 Series models will come onboard with the necessary hardware required for Level 2+ and Level 3. Customers would then have the option to pick whichever driving assistance package suits their needs. Furthermore, it’s also possible that BMW will offer separate variants of the 7 Series, some tech-ready for Level 3, others for Level 2+. For now, the new Personal Pilot is not a U.S. affair, according to Dr. Nicolai Martin, Senior Vice President BMW.
The 2024 BMW 7 Series will come equipped with an updated set of ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, and advanced cameras. BMW also integrates a LIDAR sensor for precise monitoring of the vehicle’s surroundings. In the event the driver is prompted to reassume control, visual and acoustic signals will convey the message. If the driver disregards these alerts, the car will progressively bring itself to a stop. Activated and deactivated by simply pressing a button on the steering wheel, the system works at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 km/h).
You can learn more about the Level 3 self-driving features in this video we filmed a few months ago in Sokolov at the new BMW R&D Center for autonomous driving.