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BMW may be planning to reveal a new stage in its development of driverless vehicle technology this year, according to reports out of the UK.

The carmaker has already revealed automated remote parking technologies, first with a prototype version of the i3 city car and more recently with the new 7 Series sedan.

This week, BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson has spoken of the company’s ongoing research into driverless vehicle technology, hinting that a new advancement could be revealed in the months ahead.

Speaking with the UK’s Autocar, Robertson touched on the philosophical issues that must be overcome before self-driving cars can enter the market.

Robertson said that the widespread availability of active cruise control means that autonomous driving technology has already met the “feet off” phase of development, while more recent technologies have brought us to various levels of “hands off” and “eyes off” autonomy – although both, including relevant legislation, are still an ongoing development.


Next will come the “brain off” stage, Robertson said. But, highlighting the frequently raised concern over what decision a driverless vehicle would be programmed to make in the event of a situation where either the vehicle’s occupant or a bystander could be killed as a result, Robertson said simply: “we’re not ready for that”.

We might expect to see just what BMW is ready for in the self-driving realm, however, with Robertson hinting at plans to unveil its latest advancements as part of its 100th birthday celebrations on March 7.

“There will be some products we will share. But while we will celebrate a century of being in business, we will predominantly be looking at the century ahead. Maybe what I’ve been alluding to will be the direction of that,” he said.

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