Ian Robertson, member of the board of Management at BMW AG, told press at the Paris motor show that the next decade will see more changes in the mobility segment, with electric and autonomous vehicles, than we’ve seen the last 100 years, with BMW seeking to meet that challenge with a company transformation that will see it put technology at the very forefront of its focus into the future.
Speaking to CarAdvice after the announcement of the BMW X2 concept, Robertson affirmed BMW’s beliefs in the changing future.
“We are one of the world’s, if not the most successful automotive company and we are rapidly becoming a technology company.” Robertson said.
BMW has massively emphasised the importance of autonomous vehicles in the coming decade, with the brand expected to unveil its first full autonomous vehicle with the iNext generation in 2021.
BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz recently bought Nokia’s mapping system together, for around $4 billion dollars. The mapping company will become the centre point of navigational ability that will allow autonomous vehicles to be independent of brands such as Google and Apple, which have, to date, dominated digital navigation.
Robertson told CarAdvice that while technology today means something more that it did decades ago, BMW’s emphasis has always been on innovation, so its transformation should be natural for the brand.
“At the end of the day we are a company that is a 100 years old, but as we’ve said with our vision vehicles we are looking forward at this point in time, [but] the DNA of BMW was always innovation and technology, it’s defined in different ways as tech or technology today and that’s what we are, that’s what we’ve always been, that’s what our brand stands for and that’s what or customers expect, so you can expect us to keep pushing those boundaries, so the fact that we now have thousands of software engineers… that’s part the development.”
BMW itself has the both the ‘i’ and ‘M’ brands alongside it standard range, however it now seems obvious that both electric and autonomous technology will flow across the bookends of the brand’s portfolio, with Robertson not willing to discount autonomous technology for future M performance cars.