A new BMW automated driving system will soon be available in Germany, allowing drivers to engage in activities such as writing emails or watching videos while the car takes control.
The Personal Pilot system will be an option in new 7 Series cars starting in December, with plans to expand to other markets once approved. The system offers “Level 3” automated driving at speeds of 37 mph or lower, allowing drivers to disengage from the road in favor of other activities, but they must be ready to take the wheel at any time.
The BMW car follows a similar system to Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot, which has been approved in Germany and is set to be rolled out in Nevada and California. However, the BMW system has not yet been approved in these states. California and Nevada are the only states that allow a Level 3 automated driving system.
The BMW system will be available in German BMW 7 Series cars, excluding certain models, for about $6,400. It will be the only Level 3 automated driving system with the capability to operate in the dark. Drivers will be able to turn the program on and off, and visual and audible signals will prompt them to deactivate the program and return their attention to the road when necessary.
BMW mentioned that the system is best suited for slow-moving traffic during a commute.