Chauffeurs could become a thing of the past as BMW has introduced a 7-Series prototype with a Level 4 autonomous driving system.
While it’s not a full Level 5 autonomous vehicle, the car can drive itself under most conditions and doesn’t require a driver to monitor what’s happening or be prepared to take control of the car.
As a result, people can summon the vehicle via a smartphone app and it will automatically drive to their location. Once the car arrives, riders can access the 7-Series through smartphone authentication.
Since no one needs to be behind the wheel, riders can relax in the luxurious rear seats and initiate a trip via a tablet mounted on the center console. The car will ensure everyone has fastened their seatbelts and then drive to its destination. Riders are free to relax during their trip and the tablet doubles as an entertainment system which can show movies.
While the car is just a prototype at this point, BMW did confirm its working on more advanced Level 2 semi-autonomous driving features. This includes the ability to interpret traffic lights.
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In particular, the company has developed an adaptive cruise control system with a traffic light recognition function. Billed as an evolution of their current adaptive cruise control system with Stop & Go, the new system uses “camera sensors, machine learning and a powerful backend” to detect and interpret traffic signals. This enables the system to automatically bring the car to a halt at red lights. The system can also detect yellow lights and slow the vehicle down ahead of making a stop.