In late 2017, the future will arrive. BMW has announced a new line of driverless luxury vehicles capable of navigating the complexities of traffic and chauffeuring passengers safely to their destinations. This new technology has some drivers skeptical, but early reviews of the self-driving 7 Series suggest that the futuristic fantasy of completely autonomous cars might not be that far off.
The 7 Series is semi-autonomous, which means that it can drive itself, but still needs a human to supervise, and is legal to drive in the US. Many companies are still striving to get autonomous vehicles on the market, but in 2017 the 7 Series has many self-driving features that seem like something out of a slick futuristic spy movie. The satellite navigation system allows you to select your destination and let the vehicle take the fastest and most fuel-efficient path. The 7 Series also has the ability to read road signs and react appropriately, as well as a traffic-jam assistant that can safely and efficiently navigate bumper-to-bumper roadblocks. Its auto-park system, perfected in previous models, is now fully driverless, allowing you to park from the sidewalk at the push of a button.
For a car of the future, the 7 Series still carries a classic Bimmer body, with the same design that has made their sedan class an icon. Under the skin, it boasts a signature lightweight carbon core, which reduces the overall weight of the vehicle and maximizes speed and fuel efficiency. When paired with the twin turbo-charged V8 engine and all-wheel steering of the top-of-the-line Alpina B7 xDrive model, this technology makes the vehicle one of the top performing sedans expected to be on the market.
With an MSRP between $81,000 and $137,000 depending on model and features, the 7 Series has a high price-tag that represents its overload of high-tech features. With only two other competing driverless luxury vehicles expected to be on the market in 2017, BMW currently has a near-monopoly on this new technology; however, with several companies racing to catch up, they can expect to have plenty of competition in the field by 2020, which will most likely drive prices down.
With the 7 Series riding the forefront of the new wave of autonomous vehicle technology, it’s most likely to appeal to true car aficionados who demand the latest and greatest technology. However, self-driving cars are expected to catch on and while initial sales may be somewhat low, this first generation may be the start of something great.