Stopping short of calling itself the purveyor of the "ultimate riding machine," BMW announced at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that its first cars capable of driving themselves will be on the road later this year.
The trial run will eventually lead to the launch of BMW's iNext self-driving car, which the automaker hopes to have on sale in 2021. If BMW hits that target, it may be the first carmaker to sell to consumers a vehicle capable of driving itself.
Forty specially-modified BMW 7-Series sedans will hit the road later this year as part of a test collaboration between BMW, Mobileye, and Intel. In 2021, however, BMW says that it intends to offer self-driving tech on a standard production model, the aforementioned iNext. Each of the three collaborators brings something to the table—BMW will offer up its vehicles, Intel will provide its artificial intelligence computing platform, and Mobileye will supply its EyeQ5 processor and 360-degree camera system.
You might recognize Mobileye's name from its now-dissolved relationship with Tesla; the electric car builder's Autopilot system utilized the previous EyeQ3 sensor technology from Mobileye. However, Tesla and Mobileye had a much-publicized falling out.
BMW says it intends to make its scalable self-driving platform available to other automakers.
CES opens to the public January 5, 2017. For more on the show, head to our dedicated hub.