The BMW iNext will not be Self-Propelled

BMW has decided that their upcoming electric car iNext will not be self-driving, according to a spokesman for the German carmaker, the upcoming car will be limited to level 2.It refers to SAE’s autonomy levels which go from 0 for no autonomy, to 5 for fully self-driving cars. Today’s cars are at level 2, but it is expected that level 3 is imminent as, among other things.

It was expected that BMW would be ready with level 3 autonomy with iNext. When they launched their concept car Vision iNext during the car show in Los Angeles two years ago, the focus was on autonomous driving.

The difference from concept to finished product is naturally often large. But BMW has indicated this summer that the car will be ready for level 3 autonomy. This according to a safety assessment report (PDF) the car manufacturer delivered to US road authorities earlier this year. It states that iNext will have the option of autonomous driving, and that it can be among the first cars on the roads to support this.

Level 0 – No automation: The driver must have all the overview and take all necessary measures.

Level 1 – Driver assistance: The driver monitors the environment, while the system can take care of some steering, or acceleration and braking. Typically adaptive cruise control or similar.

Level 2 – Partial automation: Controls two primary controls, such as speed and steering, while the driver is still responsible for monitoring the surroundings, and must take control if the system is unable to perform the tasks.

Level 3 – Automation under certain circumstances: Is the first where the system monitors the environment, makes decisions about, for example, when the car should overtake, turn on turn signals and other, and can be used in all situations. Cars at this level can perform the drive on their own, but it is expected that the driver will be able to take control when needed.

Level 4 – High automation: As level 3, except that the system on its own will be able to take action if the driver does not react. For example, stopping the car.

Level 5 – Full automation: The system takes care of all tasks, monitors the environment, and works in all situations. Can do all the tasks a human driver would normally do. Level 5 cars can in practice be designed without steering wheel and pedals.

BMW promises that the car, which will arrive next year, will have many advanced driver support systems, but the responsibility for driving will still rest with the driver. Thus, it is a question of level 2.

Level 3 requires the car manufacturer to take responsibility for what happens while the car is driving autonomously.

An advantage of staying at level 2 is that there are no formal requirements for such systems. As it is the driver who has all the responsibility, there is also great freedom. An example is the Tesla Autopilot, which in practice can drive the car for you most of the time. Nevertheless, it is not formally a “self-driving car”, and the responsibility for any collision will rest with the driver.

The same should be the case on the BMW iNext. In other words, the car will probably to a large extent be able to drive for you, but require that you keep your hands on the steering wheel and constantly monitor the driving. Many such features will be rolled out to BMW’s fleet in the near future.

For example, several BMW models with sign recognition will receive traffic light recognition …


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