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BMW’s Dabblings with Semi-Autonomous Cars

January 24, 2012 by Matt

BMW CDC ConnectedDrive Connect Self Driving Autonomous

This is a joke, right?

BMW wants to spearhead new automotive technology. Okay.

They want to be at the forefront of the eco-car trend. Fine.

But a self-driving car from the automaker synonymous with driver engagement? You’ve got to be kidding.

Alternate title for this post: Worst idea ever, or simply worst acronym ever? BMW’s ConnectedDrive Connect (CDC) system festoons an unsuspecting, innocent BMW with an array of sensors, cursing the vehicle with a kind of unwanted self-awareness as it navigates its own way through traffic, crosswalks and city centers.

Particularly in BMW’s case, given the erstwhile emphasis of their cars, but overall, I simply fail to see the purpose of the self-driving car. Is it to make us more safe? If so, it’s difficult to perceive how dangling a kind of electronic sword of Damocles between the driver and sudden, high-speed death would make him any safer. That’s asking us to place an awful lot of faith in our digital overlords, so to speak. Is it, as with the PDA or smartphone, to unburden us from one of our daily “chores” and so enable us to relax and/or be more productive? If that’s the goal, then again, you’re asking a lot of the occupant-of-the-car-formerly-known-as-the-driver to place complete and utter faith in the vehicle’s electronic helmsmen to point where he will be able to relax enough to, well, relax and/or focus on other tasks. I, for one, would be a white-knuckle basket case at Autobahn speeds.

Here’s an idea, BMW: How about spending the money otherwise allocated to the CDC program on dealership-based driver’s ed courses? It would save development resources on the cars themselves, make the eventual buyers better, safer drivers and teach them to appreciate the finer points of what makes driving a BMW such a sublime experience More people than you think actually crave the responsibility of driving a car, especially one of yours.

Filed under: BMW, Car Industry, News

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