The company’s new Munich-based research center will be the starting point.
By the year 2020, every vehicle in the BMW lineup will be electrified. While that sounds like a daunting task in itself, the company will continue to move forward with its new iNext project, which promises to have an autonomous, electric vehicle on the road just a year later.
In doing so, BMW has opened a new campus in Unterschleissheim, Germany, near Munich dedicated specifically for development expertise of vehicle connectivity and automated driving. Upon completion, more than 2,000 employees will work in development of the autonomous iNext project on top of the already 600 employees dedicated to automated driving software.
"The road to fully-automated driving is an opportunity for Germany’s automobile manufacturing base. The decision to develop and road-test these vehicles in the Munich area illustrates how the BMW Group and the whole region can benefit from this shift in the automotive industry,” said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management, responsible for Development at the BMW Group.
The iNext project will also include features like a hologram virtual touchscreen, which will make its debut at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. BMW says that this new feature gives "an impression of the mobility experience set to be offered by seamlessly connected and autonomously-driving cars in the future."
Since 2013, BMW Group Has sold more than 100,000 electric and plug-in vehicles in its three-brand portfolio. By 2020, electrified vehicles will make up more than 20 percent of the BMW lineup, including the proposed iNext project in 2021, and revamped versions of the i3 subcompact, i8 sports car, and others.
BMW hopes that it can begin testing its self-driving vehicles in Munich as early as next year, pending regulations.