BMW ‘i’ brand shift to self-driving cars

The “i” sub-brand was founded by BMW in 2011 for lightweight electric vehicles, but recently the subsidiary has made a major strategic shift, turning its attention on self-driving car technology.

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Apparently Board Member Klaus Froehlichsaid said that the German car manufacturer is using its “i” division as a development center for self-driving cars: “It is now in ramp-up stage. We call it Project i Next.”

The company has changed track after its only all-electric car available, the i3, has failed to gain traction with the public, with only 25,000 sales last year. Instead of challenging the likes of Tesla or Porsche with a similar concept, BMW decided to shift its main focus on developing an electric vehicle equipped with autonomous technology for the near future.

As part of this mobilization, BMW is hiring experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence to integrate various functions, such as cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and so on. Don’t expect the model to appear sooner than 2020-2021 though, as BMW just laid the foundations of Project i Next with the recently.