BMW’s First Self-Driving Car to Come Out in 2021
96th Annual General Meeting of BMW AG at Olympiahalle in Munich on 12 May 2016 (Credit: BMW Group)
Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG has announced at the carmaker’s annual general meeting in Munich a third electric model in their BMW i series. A self-driving car named i Next will be released in 2021.
"We are further expanding the BMW i line-up," Harald Krueger said. "In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i NEXT, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road".
However, Harald Kruger said the company was still waiting to see which way drivetrain technology would turn before backing one.
"It is still unclear which drivetrain will prevail, but we are prepared: We are optimising the combustion engine with Efficient Dynamics NEXT, in which efficient diesel engines will continue to play an important role. At the same time, we are electrifying our vehicles – focusing on battery power for short distances and fuel cells for longer trips. In this area, we are working closely with our partner, Toyota," he said. "The technologies of the future also include enhanced connectivity, the use of artificial intelligence, and the development of autonomous driving".
"People often ask me, when will we be driving autonomously? My answer is: We already can. A BMW test vehicle autonomously completed a lap of the Hockenheimring racetrack back in 2006. In 2011, a BMW drove on the A9 autobahn from Munich towards Nuremberg – without any driver intervention. It will be a while before these cars reach series maturity – also because the proper legal framework for customers and manufacturers has not yet been decided."