BMW’s big move to catch up with Tesla and Mercedes on autonomous driving

The manufacturer BMW is determined to offer level 3 autonomous driving on its future cars, in order to better compete with Tesla and Mercedes. And for this, the Munich brand has just signed a new partnership with the company Innoviz Technologies, which specializes in LiDAR sensors.

A few years ago it was thought that cars could drive themselves, whatever the situation. In fact, the reality is very different, and we are still a long way from being able to go to the office in a 100% autonomous vehicle. But manufacturers are working on it and this technology is developing rapidly.

A new partnership

This is obviously the case with Tesla, which has been offering its Autopilot for many years already across its entire range. But that’s not all, because the manufacturer is also marketing its FSD (full self-driving), a level two and a half autonomous driving system still in the test phase. This is taking place at the moment, since the firm has hired drivers dedicated to this task.

But Tesla is not the only one to believe in this technology, and is not even the best since it would be overtaken by Ford with its Blue Cruise. Especially since other companies are determined to also have the right to their share of the cake. This is precisely the case of BMW, which already offers level 2 on some of its models, including the Series 5 and Series 7.

But for now, level 3, which allows you to take your hands off the steering wheel, has not yet been achieved, unlike Mercedes, which already offers this technology on its EQS. For its part, BMW wants to change this and has just signed a new partnership with Innoviz Technologies, specializing in LiDAR sensors. To tell the truth, BMW already collaborates with the firm, but this alliance will extend.

And according to the statement from the Israel-based company, its Tier 3 technology would be operational from the end of this year. It is the Series 7, the brand’s flagship that will inaugurate it, but it should not remain alone for long. Because it is also said that the electric i5 will be equipped with it from 2025.

Safe driving

But that’s not all, because the first two cars to be based on the new Neue Klasse platform, which will be announced by a concept presented on September 2, will also be equipped with this level of autonomous driving. It should be the electric 3 Series as well as an SUV. However, we do not yet know what the maximum speed will be, while the European Union allows up to 130 km / h.

Innoviz Technologies’ technology uses LiDAR, an ultra-advanced sensor which makes it possible to distinguish with great precision the environment around the vehicle. This system is already used by several manufacturers, including Nio, Lotus and Volvo on its EX90. Tesla currently relies on cameras to operate its FSD.

For its part, BMW intends to distinguish itself from its rivals by offering another innovative technology, known as Minimal Risk Maneuver (MRM). This is a separate system that improves the reliability of autonomous driving by helping the car to make the best decisions in real time. This system will notably use artificial intelligence, in which the company is investing heavily.

However, we do not yet know if BMW’s technology will allow automatic lane changes, as Mercedes’ Drive Pilot does. The Munich firm is already using autonomous driving in its factories, in order to streamline logistics. This system started its test phase last year.

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