BMW Motorsport is testing the prototype of a conceptual driving system labelled “autonomous drifting” in the BMW M235i coupe, thats the sport version of the newly introduced BMW 2 series. The technology was unveiled at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a working demonstration was showcased to visitors to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Watch the video below:
This is just the latest concept where BMW’s autonomous driving technology is concerned. It began with the BMW Track Trainer, which uses pre-programmed maps of racing tracks, combined with GPS programming and markers to pinpoint waypoints across the track. By building on this technology for the last 2 or 3 years, BMW now plan to manufacture a car that can race around a track autonomously like a throttle-happy drift champion, taking you along for the ride of your life.
The car is fitted with what is known as a Lidar system, a type of remote sensor technology that illuminates targets by laser and analyses the light that bounces back, allowing the car to accurately measure the distance. It also carries a range of cameras and sensors that analyse the environment, so that the car can adjust its technique accordingly and make better driving decisions.
The fact that BMW are working on the technology that allows cars to drift by themselves is causing a big stir in the motorsports world. Drifting is not an easy technique to accomplish, the BMW M235i coupe will need to perform some astonishing tasks including intentionally over-steering so that the rear tyre slips outwards, but not enough to lose control of the car completely.
Its not just on the track that this type of autonomous technology will be beneficial though. Regular drivers encountering dangerous driving conditions on the roads will find that their BMW “actively intervenes” by switching to autonomous mode and expertly taking over.
To sum it up, your next BMW will probably be a better driver than you!
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