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Fuelcard Blog Update: BMW unveils the civilian Batmobile

The future is officially here: BMW has developed a pair of cars that can literally drive themselves.

In 2005, workers at the BMW research and development plant began reporting strange metallic sounds and the occasional explosion coming from a seemingly innocuous looking supply closet that nobody ever used. Six years later, out rolled a bespoke automated 5 Series.

These futuristic vehicles can steer, accelerate, brake and even overtake without any driver input. This works through a series of 12 sensors which read the road around the car, this information is then processed and the information is relayed to the car’s upgraded cruise control and lane guidance systems.

These robo-cars will sadly not actually go into production, but are being used as testing platforms for next-level driving aids which could transform journeys for fleet drivers, who spend a lot of time on the road. One of these advancements is congestion assist technology, which would allow the car to automatically negotiate traffic up to 25mph.

Another feature currently being developed is called emergency stop assist, which claims to monitor a driver’s health and detect sudden illnesses, such as a heart attack, and independently pull the car to the side of the road and call the emergency services. This seems useful, up until the point where you sneeze and the car decides that is ample reason to throw on the brakes. Unfortunately the person tailgating you probably won’t have an automated car and will plough straight into you. It doesn’t seem likely that this will ever be a perfect technology.

Nevertheless, all of this sounds very exciting, but we must think at what point will ‘hand’s free’ turn into ‘free will’? Call me old fashioned but I don’t particularly want to walk out to my robo-car one morning for a busy school run, only for it to decide it would much rather go to Asda and do donuts in the car park  because it finds traffic jams boring.


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