BMW Introduces Level 3 Autonomous Driving in 7-Series
BMW has recently entered the autonomous driving arena with its Level 3 driver-assist system in the new 7-Series, joining the ranks of other automakers in self-driving technology. This Level 3 system, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) classification, allows the driver to temporarily disengage from steering and road monitoring, although they must remain prepared to resume control promptly when necessary. This is a step up from Level 2 systems like those from General Motors and Tesla, which still require continuous driver attention.
BMW’s Personal Pilot L3 in the 7-Series
Set to debut in the 7-Series luxury sedan in March next year, the Personal Pilot L3 will initially be available in Germany, costing around 6,000 euros (about $6,400). It’s tailored for use on divided highways, limited to single-lane travel, and operates at a maximum of 37 mph (60 kph). The system autonomously manages speed, follows the vehicle ahead, and maintains lane position.
Comparison with Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot
Unlike Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot—the first Level 3 system to hit the market—BMW’s Personal Pilot L3 can also function at night. While Drive Pilot shares many features with BMW’s system, Mercedes aims to expand its capability to speeds up to 80 mph. Initially exclusive to Germany, Drive Pilot has extended to the U.S., specifically in California and Nevada, adhering to the states’ self-driving car regulations.
Both systems require specific road conditions and rely on a combination of sensors, including lidar, and a 5G-enabled connection to their respective cloud services for up-to-date mapping. Activation occurs via a steering wheel button when the car’s GPS identifies a suitable road segment and speed range. The system allows the driver to engage in other activities, providing visual and auditory cues for when driver intervention is necessary. Failing driver response, the car will safely halt.
Future of Autonomous Driving: Levels 4 and 5
While Level 4 autonomy, which allows extended self-driving under certain conditions, is currently limited to robotaxi services like Alphabet’s Waymo One, its introduction to private vehicles is on the horizon. The ultimate aim is Level 5 autonomy, enabling a vehicle to match a human driver’s capabilities, although this remains a future goal.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about BMW Personal Pilot L3
What is the BMW Personal Pilot L3?
The BMW Personal Pilot L3 is a Level 3 autonomous driver-assist system, debuting in the BMW 7-Series. It allows drivers to disengage from active driving under certain conditions but requires them to be ready to take control when needed. This system operates up to 37 mph on divided highways and can autonomously manage speed, distance from the vehicle in front, and lane position.
How does BMW’s Level 3 system compare to Level 2 systems?
BMW’s Level 3 system offers greater autonomy compared to Level 2 systems like those by General Motors and Tesla. While Level 2 requires continuous driver monitoring, Level 3 allows drivers to let go of the steering wheel and look away from the road temporarily, with the need to be ready to resume control quickly.
Can the BMW Personal Pilot L3 function at night?
Yes, unlike some rival systems such as Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot, BMW’s Personal Pilot L3 can function at night, providing an edge in versatility and usability.
Where and when will the Personal Pilot L3 be available?
The Personal Pilot L3 will be initially available in Germany starting next March, as an optional feature in the BMW 7-Series, and is priced at approximately 6,000 euros.
What are the future prospects of autonomous driving technology in terms of Levels 4 and 5?
Level 4 autonomy, which allows for extended self-driving under certain conditions, is currently being used in robotaxi services like Alphabet’s Waymo One. Level 5, the highest level of autonomous driving, aims to enable vehicles with capabilities equivalent to a human driver, but this technology is still in development and not yet available in consumer vehicles.
More about BMW Personal Pilot L3
- BMW Official Website
- Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Automation Levels
- BMW 7-Series Overview
- Comparison of Autonomous Driving Levels
- Waymo One Robotaxi Service
- Latest Developments in Autonomous Driving Technology
- Global Regulations on Self-Driving Cars