BMW to offer Level 3 ‘highly automated’ driving system from next year, the automaker provided the automated system as standard with its BMW 7 series.
The system will apparently enable motorists to drive hands-free and divert attention temporarily from driving.
Taking over in certain situations, the BMW Personal Pilot L3 controls the car’s speed, distance between the car and the vehicle ahead and lane positioning on behalf of the driver. This new option can be ordered for the BMW 7 Series from December to be fitted in vehicles from next March.
What’s more, a live HD map with routes is constantly aligned with GPS location-finding and works with 360° sensors to ensure exact positioning and monitoring of the area around the vehicle.
This feature is supported by a new software stack, a computing platform and a 5G link-up to the BMW Cloud. In addition to cameras, vehicles specified with the BMW Personal Pilot L3 are also fitted with ultrasonic sensors and radar sensors and a 3D lidar sensor for monitoring the area around the vehicle and the road.
The automated driving function will be offered exclusively in Germany and priced at €6,000 (£5,232).
With the system, users can redirect their focus to other in-vehicle activities when travelling at up to 60 km/h (37 mph) on motorways with structurally separated carriageways. It can also be used in the dark, BMW has said.
According to the company, the introduction of Level 3 functionality in BMW 7 Series models will make the BMW Group the first carmaker to offer both an advanced Level 2 driving function and a Level 3 system.
A key difference between Level 2 and Level 3 is that with Level 2 (semi-automated driving), responsibility continues to lie with the driver at all times. Whenever the Level 2 BMW Highway Assistant is in use, drivers must watch what is happening on the road and be able to assume control over the car at all times.
The new automated driving system is intended to give drivers the option of concentrating on alternative in-vehicle activities.
However, when the function is being used, the customer still has to be ready to reassume the task of driving at any time, BMW has clarified. Visual and acoustic alerts have been introduced to notify the driver when they have to take control.
The car is then brought to a controlled standstill if the driver does not respond as needed.
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