BMW is teaming up with two start-ups to develop innovative technology, allowing its cars to move autonomously through its factories.
Autonomous driving has been developing strongly in recent years, it’s a fact. Admittedly, we are still far from being able to go to work by finishing our night, but many advances have already been made. So much so that from September, level 3 autonomous driving will be authorized in France. This means that it will no longer be necessary to keep your hands on the wheel.
But that’s not all. Convinced of the progress made by this technology, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has just adopted regulations authorizing this same autonomous driving up to 130 km/h, against the 60 km/h originally planned. In addition, the cars will also have the right to overtake on their own. But other developments are on the horizon.
Fully autonomous cars
In effect, cars will also soon be able to travel on their own directly to the factories where they will be produced. It may seem unusual, but you will find that it is much more relevant than one might think. Indeed, this technology will facilitate logistics in factories during production. Because as the press release from BMW, which is currently testing this innovation, points out, the cars would be able to drive on their own between the different areas of the factoriesthen to park independently in the storage car parks before being transported by train or truck to the concessions.
This system should work for all cars, even if they are not equipped with a semi-autonomous driving system. But then, how is this possible? In reality, it is the factory that will be equipped with sensors and other LiDARs, thus making it possible to locate the car in real time and to detect the obstacles which could stand in the way of this one. This technology is developed by the start-up Seoul Robotics and is specifically responsible for virtually recreating a copy of the environment in which the vehicle operates.
A technology in the test phase
But how to make the car move without a driver? For this, BMW has also teamed up with the young company Embotech, which has developed software to communicate with Seoul Robotics’ sensors and make the car react accordingly. Thereby, the system is able to steer the vehicle but also to accelerate it and act on the brakes, depending on the different obstacles he may encounter on his way. No need to equip the car with sensors, and therefore it is not necessary for the car to have its own semi-autonomous driving system.
As BMW points out, this technology begins its test phase in July, at the Dingolfing plant in Germany. Two vehicles will be used, namely a BMW i7 and a 7 Series. These tests will continue for several months, before being extended to other models. Later, and if these are conclusive, other factories could adopt this technology. In particular, it would make logistics more fluid and increase productivity.by mobilizing fewer employees who could then tackle other tasks.
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