BMW is setting up an autonomous 7 Series test fleet image

While during CES the Bavarian automaker decided to showcase a 5 Series as their latest autonomous prototype, the company has decided to start a trial with an autonomous test fleet of vehicles based on the 7 Series later on this year.

BMW has recently revealed it will have a fleet of approximately 40 self-driving vehicles on public roads in Europe and the United States before the second half of the year starts. The vehicles will be using the 7 Series as the platform, and will be used to demonstrate the advances made by the German brand and its partners – Intel, and Mobileye. The three companies teamed up since July 2016 and the fruits of their collaboration are popping up quite fast, as a modular architecture has already been developed, one that can also be used by other automakers.

The trial’s main achievement will be data collection, used afterwards in the development of the production 7 Series featuring autonomous systems. Then there’s also the BMW iNext model that will serve as the flagship and foundation of the group’s future autonomous planning after its arrival in 2021. Afterwards, an onslaught of “highly automated models” from all BMW Group brands is to be expected. In the partnership, BMW is responsible for “driving control and dynamics, evaluation of overall functional safety, overall component integration, production of prototypes and eventual scaling,” while Intel provides the high-performance computing elements, and Mobileye is tasked to handle the processing and interpretation of input from the 360-degree surround view vision sensors and localization.