In an urban on-demand mobility scenario in the heart of Munich, today we got into a BMW 7 Series and were much impressed by how high automation (Level 4) can transform the individual mobility of the future.
The scenario at BMW’s NEXTGen event was this: An empty car, summoned by a smartphone app, drives up to collect us. The vehicle can be directed to any preferred pick-up point, with access authentication via smartphone upon arrival. Mind you, in Level 4, since occupants no longer have to be directly involved in the driving process, the drive is initiated via an ODM tablet. The destination address is transmitted to the vehicle via the smartphone app in advance and the driving seat remains unoccupied.
Due to safety mechanisms implemented in the vehicle, the drive can only begin once all occupants have fastened their seatbelts. Passengers can spend their time in the car however they wish. One option is simply to enjoy the entertainment system. We do have certain rights, though. Let’s say an irritating shopper is blocking the road, shopping cart and lost gaze included. We can put the horn via the touch pad, as also the headlight flasher apart from locking and unlocking doors. Once the vehicle reaches its destination and we step out, the car takes off, and rather naturally, parks itself.
We have to admit, BMW have made many an advance since 2006, when a BMW 3 Series drove the ideal racing line around the Hockenheim Ring all by itself.