Drivers of BMW iNext will be able to sleep behind the wheel

BMW is currently working with tech giant Intel and vehicle sensor firm Mobileye to develop a highly-capable self-driving system which the automaker plans to deploy in 2021.

The system will debut in a technological flagship code-named the iNext and be so robust that BMW predicts drivers in certain situations will be able to sleep behind the wheel.

The iNext won’t be a fully self-driving car devoid of a steering wheel and pedals, the likes of which Ford and Waymo have promised. You’ll still require a driver’s license to  be able to operate it, but in certain situations the car will have Level 3 and even Level 4 self-driving capability.

The most advanced cars at present have Level 2 self-driving capability. This is where constant monitoring by the driver is required in case of an emergency.

Level 3 is robust enough that the driver can take their eyes off the road for long enough to read a text message or enjoy the scenery, but they need to remain alert should they be required to take over following a brief warning period, normally a few seconds.

Similar to Level3, Level 4 allows a driver to take their eyes off the road. The key difference, though, is that in a Level 4 car the timespan for the driver to take over control is far longer. And in the situation that the driver fails to take over control, the car is able to safely stop by the side of a road.

Level 5, the ultimate goal, is where no driver is required. BMW predicts Level 5 cars will be ready before 2030. We’ll likely see them introduced initially on a trial basis and restricted to certain zones.

Read also:
2019 Aston Martin Vantage first drive review: tilting at windmills

According to BMW, the iNext will be able to operate in Level 3 self-driving mode in traffic that is moving in the same direction and separated from oncoming traffic. The automaker says the iNext will be able to operate in Level 4 self-driving mode in urban centers and eventually in traffic that is moving in the same direction and separated from oncoming traffic. It’s this latter situation where BMW predicts drivers of the iNext will be able to nod off.

In parallel to developing self-driving technology, BMW and its partners are working on standards, platforms and a backend for the future of self-driving cars. They’re also open to other firms joining the alliance.

Check Also

2019 Jaguar XE and XF get 300 Sport trim

Jaguar on Thursday unveiled a new 300 Sport trim for the XE and XF, though the availability of the trim in the United States remains unknown. Introduced for 2019 and designed for models equipped with the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, the 300 Sport trim adds a number of sporty touches inside and out. There's no missing the 300 Sport badging front...

VW to return to Pikes Peak with ID R electric racer

Volkswagen's motorsport division has been busy since ending its dominant run in the World Rally Championship at the close of the 2016 season. VW confirmed last year it will be returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2018, with 2017's winner Romain Dumas set to hop behind the wheel of a custom race car called the ID R Pikes Peak, new...