Jennifer van der Kleut
A roundup of some of the biggest headlines to come out of the driverless and connected-car worlds over the past week:
BMW announces intent to release Level 3, 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles in 2021
BMW’s senior vice president of autonomous driving announced this week that the automaker will be releasing its “i” model in 2021, and that it will be Level-5 autonomous, meaning it will be capable of operating in any situation or condition without human assistance. The company said the 2021 model will be capable of three varying levels of autonomy — Levels 3, 4 and 5. BMW recently partnered with Intel and Mobileye (and, we just learned, Intel is in the process of acquiring Mobileye) to develop autonomous systems. BMW said the car will be inspired by the Vision Next 100 concept car it unveiled last year, which implies the car will most likely be a standalone creation rather than an upgraded version of one of its current models. Read more from Reuters and the Normangee Star.
Australian university wants you to name its new fully-autonomous bus
Australia’s Curtin University has built its own fully autonomous shuttle bus, and has launched an online contest to name it. The shuttle is 100-percent electric and can carry up to 11 passengers. It can travel at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and finds its way through input digital programming, GPS navigation and and remote sensors. Though a “chaperone” currently rides in the bus to monitor things and can take over the controls manually if needed, Curtin University representatives say it is fully capable of operating without a driver. Beginning at the end of March, the bus will begin a regular route on the Curtin campus, transporting people between buildings. Read more and see a video of the shuttle bus on Curtin University’s website.
Dubai developer purchases 25 autonomous vehicles
Dubai-based developer Meraas has awarded a contract to 2getthere, out of the Netherlands, to build 25 driverless vehicles to transport passengers around its Bluewater Islands development. The group rapid transit vehicles (GRTs) will each carry 24 passengers, and will be used to transport passengers 2.5 km each way between the development, the harbor and the Metro station. Representatives say they expect the GRTs will be capable of transporting between 3,ooo to 5,000 people per hour between the three high-traffic spots. Similar 2getthere vehicles are already being used to make similar trips in Abu Dhabi and the Netherlands. Read more from MEED.
Photo: Curtin University autonomous shuttle, courtesy photo