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CES: BMW Teaches its Self-Driving Car to Tokyo Drift

While one of the hottest debates coming out of CES is whether automobile manufacturers will adopt iOS or Android for their on-board computer systems, we were too busy picking our jaws up from the floor after watching BMW’s latest demo of its new self-driving car. BMW is asserting that when it comes to the rise of the machines, they’ll be Ultimate Driving Machines capable of operating themselves and, yes, drifting like they’re playing for pink slips. The German manufacturer showed off a modified 2-Series Coupe and 6-Series Gran Coupe, which are capable of speeding around a race track at high speeds and sliding around corners like they’re trying to avoid a red shell in Double Dash.

In a statement, BMW explained, ”The prototype can pilot its way at high speeds and with exceptional precision on a slalom run between cones, adheres to a marked out circular course regardless of the friction coefficient of the road surface and executes an obstacle-evading lane change to perfection.”

These cars mark the latest generation of BMW’s autonomous driving technology, using a LIDAR system, ultrasonic sensors, 360-degree radar, and cameras to track and map out the environment. Thanks to the electronic braking, steering, and throttle control systems that come standard on all new BMWs, these prototypes are capable of making accurate lane changes, navigating through a slalom course at high speeds, slide around corners and more — all without the driver lifting a finger.

According to Wired, BMW has been putting the new suite of systems through its paces in Germany for nearly a year now, racking up 9,000 miles of real-world driving time in cities and on the Autobahn, keeping pace with its infamous 80 mph traffic. Considering that braking is the Butterfly Effect that leads to traffic jams, switching to automated, electronic automobiles could help alleviate overstuffed roads around major metropolitan areas. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on whether they’ll come equipped with a road rage module as well.

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Are you excited for driverless cars or terrified by them? Let us know in the comments below.

HT: Wired

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6 comments

  • I can honestly say that I am proud to use many of the prtodcus produced by the companies in Hardwick’s cooperative. Our little co-op even sells the High Mowing Seeds in the spring.While, Hardwick is a great story, I suspect that you hit the nail on the head with your comments on modern equity markets. The phrase shareholder value has had me worried for many years, ever since I first purchased stocks from an employer in the early ’90s. It became very clear to me that the value of my stock rose every time that the executives decided to stir the pot and reorganize. Not coincidnetly, the execs would all make hefty bonuses and get more stock. I quickly recognized it as akin to churning, (gotta’ love all those food metaphors) something that I had been taught was illegal when I worked for a large financial services firm right after college. (Boy, am I glad that I hated that job and went back to doing things I enjoy, especially now.)Anyhoooo, this whole mess is only beginning. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know it. The Markets may settle, but what the long term business and societal changes will be .??????Which leads me back to food. I was listening to something on the radio, what? I am not sure (640 AM the NPR offshoot in Amherst?) and the economist being interviewed was talking about the idea that economies are going to de-globalize as a result of this crisis. He went so far as to suggest that nations create incentives to help companies that produce commodities stay local and regional, never letting them get so huge again. It kinda’ makes sense.I think the pendulum is due for a swing in the other direction.

  • Considering how crappy BMW’s electric steering is in their late model cars, basically taking any sense of driving a luxury vehicle away from the driver, I say make them self-driving.

    I’ll take one in a 6-series GC, please.