Germany is the first country in the world where you can order a BMW 7 Series with Personal Pilot, a Level 3-certified autonomous driving system. We’ve recently learned from a company executive that the highly advanced self-driving tech might make it to the United States one day. In the meantime, the system is one step closer to reaching China.

The BMW Group has now received approval to test the Level 3 setup on Shanghai’s high-speed roads. It follows a test license obtained back in 2018 to evaluate the technology on 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) of public roads. However, even if BMW wanted to offer Personal Pilot in China today, it legally couldn’t. The laws would have to change for that to happen. A company representative told Automotive News the luxury brand will offer this functionality when it complies with the Chinese regulations.

A true Level 3 system as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Personal Pilot is a €6,000 option on a 7 Series in Germany. BMW claims it’s the first of its kind to work in the dark thanks to sophisticated sensors. It’s a hands-free system that can be used at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 km/h) on “structurally separated carriageways.”

When active, Personal Pilot does all the hard work while you stream videos on the infotainment screen. The system can be turned on and off at the press of a button mounted on the steering wheel. You’ll be able to tell which 7 Series has this feature even without stepping inside the cabin. That’s because G70 models with Personal Pilot are going to have extra sensors above the already controversial kidney grille.

For the time being, BMW sells the level 3 self-driving system on all versions of the 7 Series except for the i7 eDrive50 and i7 M70 xDrive. The implementation of Personal Pilot for the brand’s flagship comes months after the new 5 Series received the Highway Assistant (SAE Level 2), enabling drivers to change lanes by looking into the side mirrors.

Source: Automotive News Europe