BMW is apparently hitting the autonomous-car books hard in the next few years, as Reuters reports, it will have high-level self-driving cars on the road by 2021.
According to the report, senior vice president for autonomous driving, Elmar Frickenstein, said, “We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with level 3, 4 and 5.” This came during a panel discussion in Berlin. Apparently, the car will have various levels of autonomy to cover various driving situations and the level of autonomy the driver desires.
According to Society of Automotive Engineers, a level 5 autonomous car is the top of the autonomous heap. This vehicle is fully autonomous and requires no input from a human, regardless of the conditions.
This announcement comes on the tail of last year’s partnership between BMW, Intel, and Mobileye to develop self-driving technology by 2021. It also follows Intel’s $15 billion takeover of Mobileye.
Given this vehicle will have three levels of automation, it will still have a steering wheel for certain situations. For example, in level 3, the car still requires human intervention in “dynamic driving tasks,” while level 4 requires human interference in select driving modes. But for those who want to kick back during their commute, there is good ol’ level 5.
It remains unknown whether BMW will use an existing model as the guinea pig for this autonomous tech, or if it’ll develop a whole new car. My gut says the latter would make more sense, but BMW may go with one of its higher-line models, like the 5 or 7 Series.
There are no additional details at this time, but 2021 is right around the corner. Stay tuned for updates.