BMW i-Cars Drive Themselves, Expected In 3 Years

Written by Tony Ibrahim     03/08/2011 | 00:15 | Category: DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY

The commute for drivers could get a lot easier as prestige automotive brand BMW expect to release two cars that drive themselves.

The herald sun reports the two cars, which introduce BMW's new 'i' range vehicles could go into production in two years, with them hitting Aussie showrooms by 2014. The introductory model is the i3, an electric small city car, with an i8 petrol electric hybrid catering to sports car enthusiasts.

BMW's i3 (left) and i8 (right)

BMW's i-range make use of camera, radar and sensor technology to follow traffic (up to 40km/h), with them responding to changes in acceleration, braking and steering all by themselves. The only job reserved for the driver is keeping a single hand on the steering wheel.

The smart automation technology isn't only for the essentials. Working with your smartphone the i-range cars can streamline your agenda, booking tables at restaurants, tickets to concerts and even directing you to the nearest vacant parking space.

Environmentally conscientious, BMW are working on a series of applications that synergise public and private transport. Their DriveNow program will facilitate car sharing; its MyCityWay mobile application will act as a central hub for public transport info, parking and entertainment; and its ParkatmyHouse net platform allows home owners to rent their driveways and spaces.

With bodies being made from strong, lightweight carbon fibre and reinforced plastic, these cars will come with matching futuristic price tags. Ian Robertson, BMW's sales and marketing boss, claims the i8 could cost $300,000. For that kind of money you could buy a Porsche or an Aston Martin.

Robertson would not reveal the cost of the urban i3 car, but bets are it'll be hefty too.