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BMW’s first driverless car is official, coming 2021

Driverless cars are expected to take the world by storm from 2020 onwards, and BMW is already planning its entry.

BMW has announced that it plans to release a fully functional autonomous vehicle as soon as 2021. It’s one of the first confirmed self-driving motors destined for roads from a car company, although many car makers are known to be testing the technology.

Speaking in a BMW shareholder meeting today, BMW CEO Harald Krueger said:

“In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW I NEXT, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road.”

While we don’t know exactly what the driverless car will look like, we do have some ideas. Earlier this year, BMW showed off its VISION NEXT 100 concept designs, which could be used as inspiration for the BMW I NEXT car announced today.

next 100The BMW Next 100 concept car

Last summer, BMW – alongside Audi and Mercedes – bought out Nokia’s HERE Maps division, with the aim of using the company’s mapping technology to develop driverless car software. However, it’s not yet clear if the Nokia tech will actually be used in the BMW I NEXT.

In an interview with TrustedReviews earlier this year, Ford’s Don Butler – Executive Director for Connected Vehicles – told us that fully autonomous vehicles will be driving on public roads as soon as 2020:

“From a technology standpoint, certainly by 2020 we can foresee what we call Level 4 Autonomy, which is fully autonomous driving. But in well-mapped areas in well-understood conditions, right?”

Related: Apple Car

Ford Interview: The Future of Autonomous Cars

Driverless cars – yay or nay? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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