The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Autonomous.

4 minute read:

From the evolutionary three series, to the trail blazing i3, BMW have always been ahead of the curve and their thirst for pioneering technology has always put them at the forefront of engineering triumphs. One hundred years on from the company’s foundation, the BMW that we admire and aspire to so much, has briefed us with their sensational plans for the future, to excite us and most importantly drive our dreams of mobility forward. The vision they speak of encompasses AI-like technology, autonomous driving modes, geometric shape shifting bodies and a space where we not only drive our cars, but also live in them. 

While we may not see a car that resembles the Vision Concept for some time, the themes that BMW talk about are very much upon us at present with Connected Drive facilities in every new BMW and the availability of driver aids such as Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning System and Active Cruise Control. The integration of such an advanced form of cruise control already allows the driver to cruise almost autonomously as the car adapts to the conditions on the road ahead, keeping at a safe distance to the car in front, accelerating and breaking when needed. 

However, with their future vision, BMW seek to completely reimagine how we understand our relationship with the car. We are evolving into an era where we move from captain in command to owners of an autonomous piece of technology, designed to make our commutes safer and advance our connectivity. Some avid BMW enthusiasts may find this troubling – how does the traditional rear wheel drive, 50:50 weight distribution format fare in a world of self-driving cars? Yes, there is the ability to take back control of the car with the Boost mode, but will we see a rise in demand for these features to be overridden or will BMW’s vision allow us the freedom to enjoy the ultimate driving machine as we wish? Perhaps the advance to self-driving cars will permit new and more exciting ways for us as drivers to engage with the car. These are all hypothesis, and only time will tell.

Meanwhile, what does this mean for the millions of BMWs already in existence? We already know that certain models have achieved the ‘modern classic’ accolade, but perhaps even more will notice an appreciation in their value as the gap between manual to autonomous mobility increases. Sure the value of a F10 520d may not change drastically, but perhaps the more rare six cylinder models might, as they become an endangered species in the world of lower C02 emissions. On the flip side, what will become of the first generation of autonomous cars that hit the classifieds? None of us are strangers to vehicle depreciation, but early adopters seem to know all too well the kind of losses there can be when trading in their quirky car for the next one. Maybe this is the time for those who were afraid to take the plunge straight away to pick up a bargain. 

Regardless of how we feel about autonomous cars, there can be no doubt that they are on their way and BMW have promised their vision will ‘make our hearts beat faster’. So far they have kept their promise bringing some of the most respected and engaging drivers cars of all time, and I trust that whatever car lands in the showrooms next will be exactly the same.

Author: Bronagh Magee – your resident historian & BMW i fan.

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