Driverless car tech gets serious at CES

BMW and Audi unveiled their latest driverless car technology and conducted demonstration drives. Nevada is one of a few states where it’s legal to test drive autonomous cars, though it requires a person to sit in the driver’s seat at all times.

BMW added its highly active assist technology to a modified 2 Series Coupe. The car can slide into a controlled drift to demonstrate how precise the control systems are and how it can handle a critical situation. The company has posted a video showing it in action.

“It’s like the best test driver you have,” said Dr. Werner Huber, BMW project manager driver.

BMW demonstrated its latest self-driving technology on a modified 2 Series Coupe at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
BMW demonstrated its latest self-driving technology on a modified 2 Series Coupe at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The car uses steering, breaking and throttle to control acceleration, deceleration and direction in very small, exact amounts. The demonstration is just one aspect of the technical building blocks required to make a self-driving car. There are also sensors, environmental modeling and decision and driving strategy technologies that BMW is working on. Those were not included on this particular test vehicle.

Early automated-vehicle prototypes from car makers, universities and Google looked like Frankenstein experiments, covered in custom-hacked hardware. Now the technology is getting smaller and the necessary sensors and cameras are shrinking to barely noticeable sizes.

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