Carmaker’s are vying with each other to be the first to bring full autonomy to the table. Now, BMW has released a statement in which it claims that it will launch a car with Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5 capabilities by 2021. The information comes from Reuters, which cites BMW’s SVP of Autonomous Driving Elmar Frickenstein from a panel in Berlin.
The announcement is very interesting. It means that BMW is confident of coming up with an AI that is capable of possessing driving skills at least on par with a human. So basically, a car with level 5 autonomy would be capable of handling a trip from end to end and navigate through every kind of difficulty that can be expected during a normal road trip.
Level 3 and Level 4 are vastly more achievable than Level 5. While 3 enables the driver to lounge back and keep half an eye on the road and intervene only in certain situations, level 4 is the first level of full autonomy and can handle most full trips. Although, you wouldn’t be advised to send such a car out on its own as there are some situations it can’t handle. Level 5 cars on the other hand, are vastly superior and the driver can go to sleep on the backseat for all the difference it will make. At least that is the plan.
If BMW does manage to launch level 5 cars by 2021, it would be a very impressive feat and would put it ahead of most of its competitors. Most other manufacturers of note are still struggling with the lower levels. Ford for instance, is planning to put a fleet of level 4 cars on the roads by 2021. However, BMW is going even further.
The goal is certainly achievable, particularly for a company in BMW’s position. The car manufacturer has Intel as its partner and the latter recently received a major boost to its capabilities through its acquisition of self-driving hardware and software maker Mobileye. Let’s see if the company can deliver on its promise.