Published on January 8th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro1
Video: Self-Drifting BMW Makes Autonomous Cars Look Fun
Self-driving cars are a hot topic in enthusiasts circles these days, with the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles being weighed by just about everyone. While most of us imagine a box-on-wheels travelling along at 25 MPH though, BMW has a different idea of self-driving, or in this case, self-driving cars.
At the Consumer Electronics Expo, BMW revealed a pair of coupes with self-driving software that allow them to drive at the very edge of grip. Using 360-degree LIDAR (like the recent self-driving Ford Fusion), ultrasonic sensors, and environment-tracking cameras, combined with standard features like electronic braking and steering that are standard on all BMWs, the self-driving BMW 235i and BMW 6-series Gran Coupe can perform track-like driving maneuvers at speeds of up to 80 MPH.
This includes the ability to handle a slalom course and kick the back end out for a little bit of drifting, just as well as any professional driver. Only in this case, the car is literally doing the racing, without any input from the driver. BMW has really knocked over our preconceived notions of what self-driving cars would be like with this demonstration. Instead of slow-and-boring, perhaps autonomous vehicles can double the commuting speeds of the average driver, even in bad driving conditions. BMW is sure doing what it can to spice up the look and feel of green cars, and now its turned its sights on autonomous vehicles as well with success thus far.
It could be that autonomous cars aren’t such a bad thing for car enthusiasts after all, at least if BMW has a thing or two to say about it.