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201403 Oct



BMW’s research prototypes have already driven thousands of kilometres in automated self-driving mode on German motorways. In February 2013, the focus shifted to European motorways when BMW launched a joint project with Continental. Now BMW is embarking on a further research project, which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China as well.


‘Vision Zero’ is a strategy for achieving accident-free mobility that is being pursued right across Europe in many different arenas – social, political, scientific and industrial. Highly automated driving is capable of bringing Vision Zero a significant step closer to reality. In addition to the safety aspect, the aim is to enhance comfort and efficiency as well.


An ‘electronic co-pilot’ system is not only able to relieve the driver of monotonous or repetitive driving tasks, but can also take over full control of the vehicle if desired. Following on from research projects in which BMW vehicles have already clocked up thousands of kilometres of highly automated driving on German and European motorways, a project is now being launched in the world’s largest car market, China, as the next logical step in the development of this technology.


Over the next two years, the BMW Group will be building prototype research vehicles for use in highly automated driving trials on Chinese roads. Whereas typical features which must be taken into account in Europe include tunnels, national borders and toll stations, China’s fast-expanding urban cities also present the engineers with challenges such as multi-level highways.


The BMW Group is teaming up with internet giant Baidu as its Chinese partner in this latest ambitious research project. Baidu operates China’s largest search engine and is also a provider of map services and cloud services. The highly automated prototypes developed in this joint project will initially be operated on urban highways in Beijing and Shanghai.


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