A BMW test driving vehicle in a lab

SENSORY MATTERS: WITH THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY, AUTOMATED DRIVING MAKES ROAD TRAFFIC SAFER FOR EVERYONE.

06. November 2019
ca. 4 minutes

The safety of our customers is always our number one priority. And we are in no doubt that, with the right technology, automated driving can make the roads safer for everyone. To this end, sensors are of fundamental importance as the vehicle’s eyes and ears.

In the development of automated vehicles, we collect data from LIDAR (light detection and ranging), radar, cameras and ultrasound. Together, these build a picture of the environment around the vehicle. Each sensor has different skillsets. While the camera lends itself to classification and direction recognition, radar can be used to measure speed and distance. We are therefore both combining the strengths of the vehicle’s various sensors and using sensor redundancy to ensure reliable object recognition. That means, if one sensor malfunctions, another can step in to perform its role. Ultimately, several dozen sensors are involved in creating the vehicle’s perception system.

an explanatory image of the different sensors

Why simulations are so important for safety.

Through simulation, scenarios that occur very infrequently in real life can be generated to create as complete a picture as possible. This is done by importing the test vehicle’s current level of functionality into a virtual vehicle in a virtual world. Simulation therefore plays an essential role in securing the reliability of components, including sensors – something that would not be possible using real-world data alone. 

By 2021 our customers will be able to specify optional equipment allowing them to experience safe Level 3 functionality on motorways. Added to which, in selected regions we will also run pilot applications involving vehicles with Level 4 technology based on the BMW iNext.

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