Thanks to a pioneering partnership between the BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye, there could be a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous test BMW vehicles on the road by the second half of this year.

Imagine having more hours in the day and being able to relax instead of focussing on the road – it’s not as far off as you might think. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are the next frontier for global mobility industry and it’s not hard to see why.

The AV revolution

Apart from the obvious convenience, AVs will affect almost every aspect of mobility, society and the global economy. Even media and advertisers will change to accommodate the increased time spent online (as much as five billion pounds per year, for every additional minute) instead of behind the wheel.

And the estimated time which could be saved by commuters every day adds up to a mind-blowing one billion hours, globally. That’s not even considering the time spent trying to park and your AV might not have to. If your car can drive itself while you’re busy, just think of the endless car sharing possibilities.

So how close exactly are we to an Autonomous Vehicle?

 

The road to Autonomous Driving

Significant advancements have been made thanks to the partnership between the BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye and the scalable architecture means that other automotive companies could benefit from it too

While BMW Group will handle the assessing, producing and scaling of prototypes, as well as the engine and driving dynamics; Intel’s involvement will be innovation and advanced communication and computer development. Mobileye’s EyeQ®5, as the name suggests, is the highly intelligent and manoeuvrable sensor with a 3600 view – which completes this power partnership.

“This year our fleet of vehicles will already test this joint technology globally under real traffic conditions. This is a significant step towards the introduction of the BMW iNEXT in 2021, which will be the BMW Group’s first fully autonomous vehicle,” stated Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development.

 A safer tomorrow

One of the more significant changes would be the decline of road accidents.  In addition to removing the frustration of the occasional bumper bashing, AV technology could save lives with the potential to reduce accidents by up to 90%.

According to recent statistics, car accidents make a R306 billion dent to the South African economy every year, making autonomous driving one of the safest and most profitable developments to the motor industry since the seatbelt.

Are you looking forward to autonomous driving, or do you love the feeling of being in the driver’s seat? Tell us in the comments below: