In the race for developing more and more complex self-driving features, BMW is working on a technology that will offer drives some relax time behind the wheel.
BMW’s archrival Mercedes-Benz is already one step ahead in the self-driving race, as the newly launched E-Class mid-size premium sedan is packed with technologies to ease up drivers’ life behind the wheel. The Munich-based automaker is not rushing in throwing autonomous features into its cars until it has the proof and knowledge that those systems are fully reliable. But this does not mean BMW is not looking ahead on the next-level of such techs, as it is currently developing a feature to best what Mercedes has to offer. “We’re working on a concept car that’ll allow a chauffeur experience on the highway,” Werner Huber, who heads BMW’s research group on driver-assistance systems, said in an interview at the Geneva International Motor Show. “The idea is that the driver’s attention can be elsewhere, such as using the car’s displays to write emails.”
BMW has to quickly respond to Mercedes’s threats, as many analysts are projecting that the three-pointed star marque will dethrone its sales rival this year for the first time in a decade. In contrast with Daimler’s brand, BMW usually brings the latest high-tech systems to its 7-series, therefore the next step in automation will probably be ready in time for the next overhaul of the flagship model, Huber said. “It’s going to be hands-free driving,” but there won’t yet be seats that swivel away from the road, he added. “That’s further in the future.”