BMW previews hands-free performance driving system

BMW has previewed an automated driving system capable of controlling a car at its performance limits at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
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Able to safely control vehicles during demanding situations without any input from a driver, BMW says its M235i Coupe-based research prototype – built in-house by its research and technology experts – autonomously reacts to on-limit situations “with the precision of an expert driver”.

Part of BMW's development of its automated driving technology systems, the car maker says the prototype can pilot itself through a high-speed slalom run, stay within a marked-out circular course regardless of the road surface’s friction coefficient, and execute an obstacle-evading lane change all while making “optimum use” of both engine and chassis.

BMW automated expert driver - 2

Not just intended for hands-off-the-wheel giggles, the German manufacturer says, "Only a system that can safely master all dynamic situations up to the vehicle’s dynamic limit will be able to generate trust and provide sustained and secure relief for the driver in tiring situations".

A step above existing control systems, which restore stability by braking individual wheels, BMW says the prototype’s new function, which will be demonstrated live on a closed track, actively adds precisely calculated steering inputs into the mix.

BMW is planning a fleet trial for vehicles equipped with its highly automated driving technology for 2015, following on from a research partnership launched in February 2013 with automotive supplier Continental, due to run until the end of 2014.

BMW i3 smartwach app

BMW has also shown its latest Parking Assistant system along with a new prototype smartwatch app (pictured above).

Now featuring longitudinal guidance additional to its existing lateral guidance, the upgraded system can automatically switch between forward and reverse gears and allows the car to pull away and brake automatically.

The BMW i Remote App, which links the new BMW i3 to a Samsung Galaxy Gear, is able to display the all-electric model’s battery charge and available range as well send navigation information to the vehicle, adjust climate control settings and inform the wearer if the windows, doors and sunroof are closed. An option for the i3 to comprehend voice commands will also be available via Samsung’s speech recognition assistant dubbed S Voice.

The 2014 CES runs until January 10.