BMW chairman Harald Krüger has listed three new technologies as the main priorities for the company going forward.
Describing the race towards a new, technologically advanced motoring future, includes technologies such as:
- enhanced connectivity;
- the use of artificial intelligence; and
- the development of autonomous driving.
Krüger was speaking at the automaker’s annual general meeting, where he told the audience the company was growing in high-margin segments, particularly its BMW i range in electric vehicles, where it plans to expand.
“We are further expanding the BMW i line-up. In just a few weeks, we will offer an i3 with 50 per cent more battery capacity,” said Krüger.
“In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i Next, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road.”
Krüger said BMW was “on the threshold of a new era”, in which it has a chance to seize the opportunities of digitalisation to take individual mobility into a new era.
Take a look at our Vision Vehicle, the BMW VISION NEXT 100, which we presented in Beijing last week. It provides a glimpse of “Sheer Driving Pleasure” in the years beyond 2030 – sustainable, connected, and highly-automated. This vehicle embodies our philosophy perfectly: We are naturally proud of our tradition – but our sights are set firmly on the road ahead.
Having celebrated its centenary recently, BMW is looking to build on its traditions.
Krüger said: “Industrial manufacture of highly-complex products is the main strength of the German automobile industry. Industry 4.0 will open up new opportunities for lean processes and enhancing quality.
“There are many jobs robots can perform with greater accuracy than humans to make working on the assembly line easier. Our production already combines the best of both worlds – the real and the virtual – in a state-of-the-art network that is both efficient and highly flexible.
“Innovative vehicles are rolling off the assembly lines at all our plants – with the new BMW 7 Series leading the way. It is our innovation driver. This vehicle showcases everything we are capable of at BMW today.”
He claimed that the new 7 Series is the first vehicle to offer remote-controlled parking. “It can drive itself into a garage or parking space – using just one of its many automated driving functions and assistance systems,” said Krüger.
He added: “People often ask me, when will we be driving autonomously? My answer is: We already can. A BMW test vehicle autonomously completed a lap of the Hockenheimring racetrack back in 2006.
“In 2011, a BMW drove on the A9 autobahn from Munich towards Nuremberg – without any driver intervention. It will be a while before these cars reach series maturity – also because the proper legal framework for customers and manufacturers has not yet been decided.
“Our goal is already clearly-defined – to be number one in autonomous driving. However, with us, the customer always decides – because Sheer Driving Pleasure [a BMW slogan] also means: freedom to choose. When do I hand over control? When do I drive myself?
“Autonomous driving depends on highly accurate real-time maps and data. In 2015, we paved the way for this when we joined with partner companies to acquire map service Here from Nokia.”