At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, BMW introduced the BMW 5 Series (E39 manual) with a personal CoPilot. We have already driven the prototype to test autonomous driving and spend a lot of free time behind the wheel.
We find Captain Future on a small blue button in the upper left corner of the steering wheel. “But don’t rush it just yet,” explains an instructor from Las Vegas. Ahead of CES, BMW is unveiling a prototype based on the new BMW 5 Series that allows you to enjoy life in a self-driving car of the future while giving the driver time to do other things in the car.
Autonomous driving starts at the push of a button
But to be honest, the first time is not easy. Traffic on the Vegas Strip is heavy, with pickup trucks and large SUVs disdainfully overtaking elegant sedans. Before us, the BMW 740i maintains a pace that only serves as a pilot car for safety reasons. You can, but not necessarily, as instructor Christian emphasizes. So, now you press the blue button, take your foot off the gas and brake, and the 5 Series rolls along nicely on the highway. Passing traffic left and right doesn’t bother the system at all, moving at 65 mph here just behind the 740i.
Time to enjoy the panorama around. Let’s introduce ourselves, we would be Linda. The system already knows this. Linda wants to visit her grandmother, but at that moment she remembers that she forgot the chocolate bar she wanted to bring as a gift. No problem. By pressing the microphone button located on the steering wheel, she activates the voice assistant — Microsoft Cortana, which, using Amazon Prime Now (already working in major German cities and delivering almost at the last minute even beer and champagne on New Year’s Day) instantly determines the point assembly, where the forgotten gift will be received in an emergency lane on the road itself, of course, without any deviations. Naturally, Alexa could order the Amazon voice assistant herself, which has also been available in Germany since the end of last year. And since the car drives so well, Linda took advantage of this and even booked a restaurant table for tonight through the system. Since she has only one appointment with one person, and in any case she only has time between 8 and 9 pm, the system recognizes the meeting time from her electronic calendar. Questions are redundant here.
Autonomous cars are changing lives
With this, BMW wants to show how life can change with autonomous cars. The BMW Connected digital service is combined with the flexible Open Mobility Cloud and a high degree of personalization. The car knows the tastes and needs of the driver, his roads, his friends and so on.
Using the gesture control function, drivers can get a lot of information about buildings or tourist attractions. Learning while driving, so to speak.
Oh yes, when you have to wait at a traffic light, seconds of red are immediately displayed.
Just press the blue button on the steering wheel and the fun is over. How much longer will we have to wait? No one really wants to fix it right now. But this year’s CES proved that progress is happening faster than you might think.