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Page Overview: BMW Group - Innovation - Technology and Mobility - Automated driving

Automated Driving

The future of the smart car.

A new era of mobility begins.

The automotive industry will change more over the next decade than in the past 30 years. Today, we are already on the threshold of highly-automated driving. This raises a number of technical challenges, but, at the same time, presents a tremendous opportunity to revolutionise mobility: In the future, “sheer driving pleasure” will also be defined by how automated driving can make life easier for our customers.

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Video depicting the innovative features of the BMW 7 Series – from remote controlled parking to driving assistance systems.


Focus topics: semi-automated driving function in the BMW 7 Series.

The BMW 750Li xDrive driving along a road.
Driving Assistant Plus shown as part of the instrument panel.
Traffc Jam Assistant.
Man parking his BMW remotely.

How does automated driving benefit me as a driver? Highly-automated driving brings us a good deal closer to accident-free mobility. As well as the safety aspects, we anticipate a major increase in convenience and improved driving efficiency for our customers.

Development always focuses on three objectives.

Diagram showing the three goals of premium driving comfort.

Premium driving comfort.

  • Assistance for the driver – in situations that strain or do not challenge the driver (traffic jam, tight situations)
  • Free time in the vehicle as a result of automated driving

Improved safety.

  • The car sees everything quickly, simultaneously, with no fatigue
  • Safe driving – with and without automation

Higher efficiency.

  • Optimised utilisation of road infrastructure, traffic jam prevention
  • Use of extended transport services and mobility concepts

Where do we stand on highly-automated driving?

The BMW Group has been working on highly-automated driving for many years. We began our research activities back in early 2000. Since then, our engineers have clocked up more than 25,000 highly-automated kilometres in trials.

BMW TrackTrainer.

2006: Debut of the BMW TrackTrainer – a system that allows the driver to follow the ideal racing line on a racetrack.

Emergency vehicle drives up to a parked BMW heran.

2009: In a medical emergency, the BMW Emergency Stop Assistant switches to automated driving mode and performs a safe emergency stop.

Several BMWs driving on the autobahn, maintaining distance.

2011: Since mid-2011, we have been testing our highly-automated research vehicles on the A9 autobahn – at speeds up to 130 km/h in observance of all traffic regulations.

A BMW research car driving autonomously at high speed.

2014: A research vehicle based on a BMW 2 Series Coupé tested highly-automated driving to its limits.

Remote Valet Parking Assistant.

2015: The fully-automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant was presented at the CES Show in Las Vegas. The BMW i3 research car can park itself safely and dynamically in a parking garage.

Working on the future: current research projects.

Man looking at intelligent driver assistance system from the research initiative UR:BAN.
Several BMWs driving on the autobahn, maintaining distance.
Screen on the dashboard warns of wrong driving direction.

Our goal up to 2020: To achieve the quantum leap from semi to highly-automated driving.

What will we be working on over the coming years?

The next major goal of the BMW Group is highly-automated driving on European motorways with all the challenges it poses, such as crossing national boundaries or passing through roadworks. From 2020, the technical prerequisites should be in place to enable highly-automated driving with series-production vehicles. There are still a few obstacles to overcome on the way to automated driving: Besides the Vienna Convention of 1968, there are still regulatory and liability issues in the way of automated driving on the roads.