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Self-Driving Cars, Coming to a Road Near You

BMW engineer, André Mueller, tests autonomous driving technology in a BMW 7 series sedan
BMW engineer, André Mueller, tests autonomous driving technology in a BMW 7 series sedan. BMW

The self-driving car industry plans to make big headway in 2017, thanks to BMW and their partners. The company announced the plan to test 40 self-driving vehicles on public roads in the second half of this year.

The project is a joint effort, between BMW, Intel, and Mobileye. The cars will be a customized BMW 7 series that have been fitted with Intel processing power, with Mobileye supplying the cars with driver assistance systems and sensors. The trials will take place  in both Europe and the US, and BMW hopes to have the autonomous vehicles available for purchase by 2021.

BMW, Intel and Mobileye, along with creating their own successful self-driving vehicle, are looking to change the landscape of self-driving vehicles entirely. By developing what they call ‘scalable architecture,’ other companies pursing self-driving means can use the software and design for their own projects.

This partnership isn’t relying on the 7 series tests, though. All three companies are in pursuit of their own autonomous projects. Intel intends to spend $250 million in the next two years in an effort to create their own self-driving vehicle. Mobileye and another leading auto supplier, Delphi, plan to develop an autonomous driving system that can be used by any car manufacturer, which they hope to finish by 2019. BMW also plans to release an electric self-driving car, call the Innovation Driver, or i NEXT, by 2021.

BMW and it’s partners aren’t alone in their pursuit of the autonomous car. Other major car companies, including Ford and GM, have been in testing of their own self-driving products. Uber has even explored the possibility of autonomous pickups for a brief time in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. With the amount resources being funneled into autonomous programs across the industry, 2017 may be remembered as beginning of the autonomous vehicle era.

[Via The Verge]

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