The jam-packed roads of China could benefit tremendously from autonomous vehicles, and BMW wants to achieve “accident-free mobility” with its self-driving cars. A new round of road tests brings that vision to the congest roads and highways around some of the most densely-populated cities on the planet.
For the next two years BMW’s efforts will focus specifically on high-traffic urban mobility where construction and traffic on daily norms. This is drastically different from the tunnels, toll booths, and mountains automated cars traversing Europe have to deal with. BMW says its test cars have already logged thousands of kilometers of driving, and this next leap hopes to give drivers the hands-off option in dense city driving.
Autonomous cars could resolve many of the issues commuters contend with on a daily basis, making fender-benders and serious accidents alike a thing of the past. These innovations could also maximize fuel efficiency by giving drivers better routes or maximizing the electric driving range of plug-in hybrids. China, Europe, and America each pose their own unique challenges to self-driving vehicles, and in BMW is partnering with Chinese Internet giant Baidu to provide the maps and data content necessary for autonomous cars.
This is a major advancement from the self-drifting (yes, drifting) M235i BMW showcased earlier in the year, and China is driving autonomous car innovation forward, in large part because it has superseded the U.S. as the world’s largest car market. We might have to wait a little longer for self-driving Bimmers to get to our shores I’m afraid.