BMW, Intel kick off autonomous car pilot program

BMW and Intel launch first self-driving test cars

BMW and Intel launch first self-driving test cars

As part of a self-driving car trial, 40 BMW 7-Series luxo-barges will soon hit the road—without the need for drivers, thanks to Intel’s advanced computing technology capable of grabbing 4 terabytes of data every 90 minutes. 

BMW and Intel yesterday kicked off their self-driving vehicle trial at Intel’s new Advanced Vehicle Lab in California’s Silicon Valley. The lab’s grand opening was more than just a ribbon cutting ceremony. Kathy Winter, Intel’s automated driving division vice president, used the opportunity to unveil the first of 40 highly-autonomous BMW 7-Series test cars.

BMW and Intel launch first self-driving test cars

BMW and Intel launch first self-driving test cars

The German automaker and the California semiconductor firm plan to put as much as 155 million test miles on the fleet of 7-Series sedans before BMW’s upcoming iNext fleet of self-driving cars is ready for consumers in a few years. 

MORE: BMW to have a fully autonomous car in 2021

The cars take advantage of Mobileye’s sophisticated cameras, lidar, and radar—not to mention considerable Intel computing power. Of those 4 terabytes recorded every hour and a half, Intel says that most of it is processed and subsequently analyzed by its computers inside the vehicle but that some will be transmitted to its laboratory for map updates and enhanced data models. 

At the event, Intel and Ericsson also showed off a live demonstration of their 5G wireless network that will eventually transmit data from vehicles to the cloud in a much faster manner than existing 4G LTE networks. While that technology is still a couple years away at least, it could be ready by the time those fully autonomous cars are ready in 2021.

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