BMW: Level 5 self-driving car could happen by 2021

November 30, 2018

The self-driving car industry is flush with optimism, and the latest dose comes from German brand BMW. The company said it believes it could have a Level 5 self-driving car ready by 2021.

Klaus Froehlich, BMW Group Board of Management, told Motor Authority at the 2018 LA Auto Show on Wednesday that BMW will be ready with its own fully autonomous car in two years. He added only government regulations and high-resolution maps have kept the brand from deploying the technology earlier.

CHECK OUT: FCA joins BMW's self-driving car development group

A Level 5 self-driving car is one that is capable of total and complete autonomy. A steering wheel and pedals are not necessary since the car houses the ability to handle every situation without the need to turn control back over to the driver.

BMW has been relatively quiet about its self-driving car program, however. While other companies such as Google's Waymo, General Motors' Cruise Automation, and even Daimler's Mercedes-Benz have publicly shown off their hardware and software, BMW has held its cards closer to its chest.

The company did join Mercedes-Benz and Audi to purchase a company called HERE in 2015, however. HERE is responsible for creating highly detailed HD maps for autonomous vehicles. Mercedes-Benz has implemented the maps in its self-driving cars, but it's unclear what BMW has done since the purchase.

The 2021 date for BMW's Level 5 self-driving car coincides with the expected launch of its technology flagship. The brand showed off the Vision iNext SUV concept earlier this year and said a production version will launch in 2021. Should BMW have self-driving technology ready in 2021, it will more than likely debut with the electric SUV.

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