BMW’s 5 Series Leads the Way in Semi-Autonomous Tech

BMW is not falling behind in the race towards autonomous driving, despite other automakers lacking the prowess of a “T” on their hoods. In fact, BMW is making significant strides in semi-autonomous technology. Breaking new ground, the latest 5 Series has become the first vehicle to receive approval in Germany for partial self-driving up to 130 km/h.

All BMW models feature an advanced Level 2 autonomous system for indefinite highway driving when they meet specific conditions. Parameters include a specific speed range, constant driver attention via steering wheel contact, and clear road markings visible to the car’s cameras. However, BMW’s latest semi-autonomous technology for the 5 Series goes even further. It enables self-driving up to 130 km/h without constant steering wheel contact and features an upgraded lane change assistant. Remarkably, this system has received approval from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, making it the first of its kind.

The German Federal Motor Transport Authority has deemed BMW’s new system safe and effective, leading to its approval. Notably, this system offers greater leniency compared to its predecessors. Drivers no longer need to touch the steering wheel regularly to keep the system engaged. An interior camera monitors their face and eyes to ensure it maintains attention. While this feature may seem somewhat intrusive, BMW is not alone in utilizing such technology. The key distinction is that BMW enjoys higher permissible speeds in Germany than other manufacturers.

The 5 Series also introduces BMW’s innovative lane change assist function. By utilizing sensors and cameras, the system determines a need for a lane change. If a vehicle ahead is too slow, the system detects the driver’s intent to pass and alerts them when it’s safe. The driver can simply check the corresponding side mirror, and the car will autonomously execute the lane change. The iX, 7 Series, and i7 models let drivers start lane changes using the indicator stalk, with the system taking over when there is a clear path. These updates may appear incremental, but they showcase BMW’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of automotive technology.

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