BMW Builds a Self-Driving Car — That Drifts – Wired

Posted: Wednesday, January 08, 2014

BMW’s 235i takes a corner sideways in the first fully-autonomous drift. Photo: BMW

The BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo is outfitted with the same autonomous driving tech as the 2 Series Photo: BMW

The cars are as adept on the road as the track. Photo: BMW

The 235i takes to a stretch of wet asphalt in Germany. Photo: BMW

Photo: BMW

Photo: BMW

Photo: BMW

BMW makes the Ultimate Driving Machine, and now it’s made the Ultimate Drifting Machine. Except it’s the code that’s in control.

At CES, BMW is showing off a modified 2-Series Coupe and 6-Series Gran Coupe that can race around a track at the limits of adhesion, and slide around corners like a throttle-happy Formula Drift ace.

Both cars are outfitted with a LIDAR system, 360-degree radar, ultrasonic sensors, and cameras that track the environment. Partnered with the electronic braking, throttle, and steering control that’s standard on all new BMWs, the prototypes can run through a high-speed slalom, perform precise lane changes, and slide around corners, without any driver intervention.

This is just the latest iteration of BMW’s autonomous driving tech, which began with its Track Trainer project that used GPS, waypoint markers, and uploaded track maps to run around Laguna Seca and the Nürburgring nearly as fast as a professional hot shoe.

This new suit of systems have been undergoing testing in Germany for the better part of a year, logging some 9,000 miles of real-world driving in cities and on the autobahn, keeping up with 80 mph traffic — further proof that your next car will be a better driver than you.

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