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BMW Boss Says Self-Driving Cars May Never Be Allowed

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Not so supprising from the company making "the Ultimate Driving Machine."

BMW has always stuck to its "Ultimate Driving Machine" mantra, even though many of its models feature semi-autonomous technology designed to take away responsibility from the driver. Despite the push for self-driving cars, BMW wants to keep people driving, and believes that modern consumers aren't ready for fully autonomous cars. In fact, Ian Robertson, BMW's special representative in the UK, told Auto Express that fully autonomous cars may never happen due to regulatory hurdles.

Consumers are excited by the prospect of a self-driving car, but governments haven't had a chance to step in yet. "I think Governments will actually say 'okay, autonomous can go this far.' It won't be too long before Government says, or regulators say, that in all circumstances it will not be allowed" Robertson said. The issue of how autonomous cars will be allowed to function has been brought up numerous times in the past. Robertson added that "Even though the car is more than capable of taking an algorithm to make the choice, I don't think we're ever going to be faced where a car will make the choice between that death and another death."

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BMW has conducted extensive tests using several fleets of autonomous vehicles, but Robertson says "the technology is not mature right now. The measure of success is how many times the engineer has to get involved. And we're currently sitting at around three times every 1,000 kilometers. Sounds pretty good - however, that's three times too many. It has to be perfect." As we've said in the past, fully autonomous cars will likely require changes to road laws, insurance practices, and even human behavior. Like Robertson, we are a bit skeptical that all of the regulatory changes will happen any time soon.