BMW doesn’t have the first autonomous car prototype, but its modified 2014 M235i Coupe sure looks impressive.
Several manufacturers have predicted the public will be driving driverless cars by 2020, and a few states have legalized the vehicles under certain conditions.
In the meantime, BMW (and others) are showcasing their autonomous cars on tracks and doing so impressively. They corner well and pilot through cones at high speed.
The BMW new ActiveAssist feature can bring a vehicle “back into line in demanding driving situations without any input from the driver”, using 360-degree radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors.
The German manufacturer revealed a modified version of the M235i Coupe at the recent 2014 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. The car can brake, steer and accelerate without driver intervention.
Other self-driving vehicles on display included a 2-Series Coupe and 6-Series Grand Coupe.The cars were tested on Germany’s Nurburgring race track and on a 40-mile journey between Munich and Nuremberg.
Researchers have also experimented with an “Emergency Stop Assistant” function which can steer the vehicle to the side of the road and automatically activate an emergency call if the driver is incapacitated, for example in a medical emergency.
The car company said: “The prototype illustrates the BMW Group’s aspiration to offer its customers a highly automated driving experience exuding emotional appeal – even at the car’s dynamic limit.”
Article Last Updated: April 22, 2014.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.