By on May 30, 2013

2014-bmw-x5-xdrive50i-11

This is the 2014 BMW X5. It comes in brown, and will have a diesel option. Alas, there is no manual available like the first generation X5. It can also drive itself at speeds below 25 mph.

A new system called Traffic Jam Assistant uses both adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems to help drive the X5 by itself at speeds of 25 mph or less. It’s basically the first mass market self-driving system, even though it’s designed for ultra-low speeds. Who would have thought that it would appear first on The Ultimate Driving Machine?

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38 Comments on “The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine, Now Available In Brown...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    I’ve had a manual transmission cars for the past 15 years. But, this is the one killer app that would get me to switch.

    I don’t mind driving a manual in traffic vs. an automatic. But, if the car could just drive itself in traffic? Then I’d have to go with the automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      jmo….

      Yup. Here is what I said on the Chevy Volt article offered by TTAC earlier today:

      “Actually, and ironically, I fully agree. And I am a driving enthusiast, with four vehicles, all performance related, all stick shift.

      But here is why fully self-driving cars may be a good thing:
      1) Most American drivers are no longer skilled drivers;
      2) We don’t have decent universal public transportation;
      3) Commuting is not fun anyway for most people;
      4) Commuting time can be used productively in other ways;
      5) FWD cars are not meant for real performance driving anyway.

      So, let’s diminish accidents by engineering out the most failure-prone part of the system: the human being. And for those folks (like me) who care to use a Z4 for a blast in mountains, then that option is always available…

      Flies in the ointment: what happens when you try to use auto-drive in a snowstorm? The human brain is pretty good at distinguishing small differences in where the road actually is during a white-out: will the image analysis systems on board an auto-drive car do that successfully enough? What about a rain-slicked road at night? Or will the system constantly “beep” every two minutes to demand manual intervention after I just start reading my novel once again. That would be a pain…”

      —————–

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        An additional fly in the oinment? Try someone falling asleep at the wheel whilst their Bimmer cruzes along in a traffic jam. Suddenly the jam clears and they’re still bumbling, snoring, along at 25 mph. Yeah you know it’ll happen.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        For 97% of all drivers, in my estimation,the vehicle is better than the human. I am an instrument rated pilot (proving i have good spatial sense, coordination, and ability to manipulate a machine) but I have never had training, and little experience, that would make be better than a car in this situation. Besides that, it’s not necessarily a fair question sense the driver is really supposed to be watching anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          james2k

          Landcrusher, you’re being very generous to those 3%. Let’s say you’re right though. These systems are going to be the most help though when people are at their worst. Maybe they’re tired, distracted, or had too much to drink. At their best, 3% of drivers might be better than an automated system but we aren’t always at our best. I can’t wait for these systems to come down in price.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Landcrusher…

          I do think these questions, and the one raised by “Dolorean”, are entirely fair.

          It is one thing for a person in a self-driving car to look out occasionally and even “watch” once in while, but if he/she MUST be REQUIRED to watch, then a primary benefit of a self-driving vehicle would have been defeated. You might as well operate it yourself and depend on the nannies.

          In other words, to be utterly successful, I would expect the vehicle to operate much like a commuter train: read a book, have breakfast, drink your coffee, play cards, and maybe see the world go by if you care to do so. In fact, I would expect to “tell” the car where I want to go, and have it go there….

          ————–

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Fair? I don’t know. Given Dolorean’s bigotry towards people driving just about anything not to his taste i doubt it was intended to be serious or fair. Certainly, it wasn’t a requirement.

            I would like the car to be full proof, but I would only require it to work as advertised at first. If it turns out the systems are causing too many problems, even if its due to misuse, then it would be time to look again. I suspect there will be less problems from sleeping drivers in these cars than in existing ones, but I am sure a lot more incidents in self driving cars will make the news.

            You are many times more likely to be killed in your home by a car or truck hitting you than by an airplane doing so, but the latter makes the news even when the pilot lands safely in the front yard.

            Bottom line, I am wasting my time trying to be reasonable about this in a world where the questions of the doloreans are very likely to get continued legitimacy by an irresponsible press trying to keep their faces on tv and out of the soup lines. Nearly one hundred years of flight and the level of ignorance affecting the use of aircraft, mostly fostered by the press and people like dolorean, hasn’t really improved that much.

  • avatar

    Ultimate driving machine = Nissan GT-R.

    Or a turbocharged BR-Z.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Lol, Truck. You just can’t even see the self driving part because it doesn’t fit your view of the world?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      In a class of semi-rugged, well-handling SUVs that include the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz ML, Porsche Cayenne, and Volkswagen Touareg, the BMW X5 is definitely one of the better ones in terms of handling and driving ability. Ultimate Driving Machine? Perhaps not. But would the majority of its buyers really want an SUV that was compromised toward sport?

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        “Ultimate Driving Machine? ”

        “Ultimate” just means the last in a sequence. So, I guess each new BMW (or any vehicle from any maker, really) could briefly be called the ultimate until another model is designed.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    Depending on when it is available it may not be the first, Volvo announced 2014 models will have the same type of system, except it operated up to 31MPH instead of only 25 in the BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      If the information I have is correct, production is slated to begin August of this year at the Spartanburg, SC plant, with the cars hitting dealerships in either November or December. Diesel models are to begin production in December, meaning that they will not be available until perhaps February or March of 2014.

      So Volvo will probably beat BMW to it…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Wasn’t that the system that promptly smashed into the back of a stationary truck when first demonstrated to the press?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    If I were a commuter, I would have to look at a trade for my one year old Volvo, and I am still mad at BMW over there integrity and software issues.

  • avatar

    So…

    Scenario 1>
    Lets say you are commuting. It’s bumper to bumper & life sucks. Ah well, I’ll let this thing drive itself — pop on headphones & read a book. Traffic thins out, speed reaches 25mph. Person doesn’t look up. Car crashes? Shuts off? How does it work? Does it turn as well?

    Scenario 2>
    How does this handle inclement weather? What happens if your speed is constantly between say 20-30mph due to weather/traffic etc? Does it keep taking/releasing control from you?

    Scenario 3>
    Speed limit is 30. Most people drive 35. Person in bimmer sets cruise control for 24mph and annoys the living sh* out of everyone. Road rage ensues…

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      “Person in bimmer … annoys the living sh* out of everyone.”

      Nothing new there. What year did they finally remove all the turn signals off new BMWs ?

    • 0 avatar
      Wacko

      But if a BMW that can drive it self, must be able to park by it self?
      Does it do an AssHat job, and take 2 or more parking spots??

      • 0 avatar
        niky

        I think the bigger question is: Will it drive up to the turn-off and cut in at the front of the line for you?

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        Perhaps there’s variable settings to the asshattery? (NORMAL= park across two spots; SPORT = park in handicapped or EV spot; RACE = park across walkway or firelane.) And then I suppose the //M version might even have a exclusive M-douche button that will allow the vehicle to find and occupy up to four parking spots at once, for the ultimate, ultimate experience.

        • 0 avatar
          dolorean

          As an additional expense, Bimmer has added Douchebag Brown Metallic which engages when the owner presses the ‘D’ button upon taking up two parking spaces. It’s paint job now laughes at your sad attempts at scratching it with your keys ‘accidentally’ as you walk past by resealing itself and taking a picture of your frustration for the Douche(owner) to proudly show his buds later over Michelob Ultra at the AssHat Club.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Robstar,
      I will assume this works like adaptive cruise but adds steering.

      So scenario one, it would keep going 25 and I would assume it would alert the driver when conditions allow higher than 25 mph.

      Scenario two, its cruise control and works the same. It would never TAKE control unless it malfunctioned. Any steering input would override the steering feature.

      Scenario three, 30 mph highway? Voter rage generally takes care of that. You can’t use cruise control off the highway now. Some level of judgement is still required.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think that the outgoing E70 is the high-point in styling for the X5, and that this new F15 brings things back a step toward clumsiness, such as with the E53. I’m particularly not fond of the way the headlamps connect to the grille, a la F30 3-Series. It just doesn’t work as well here. The good news is that, unlike both the E53 and E70, buyers that opt for lesser-equipped versions of the F15 won’t look like they’ve skimped, now that there are a bunch of standard features (like *gasp!* real leather upholstery). Of course, the pricing has probably risen accordingly.

    As for that Traffic Jam Assistant, I say go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The rear end isn’t that bad, but yeesh… the headlights… Wonder why they didn’t go for the much neater and subtler integration from the upcoming 4-series?

  • avatar
    cRaCk hEaD aLLeY

    Yes, but can the i-drive be configured to connect to Facebook while the car self-drives?

  • avatar
    segfault

    Is it just me, or does that nav screen have a glossy display that will cause horrible glare in direct sunlight?

  • avatar
    smartascii

    That’s all well and good, but does it feel like they’ve cost-cut the thing back to early-Hyundai levels of cheap? I’ve been looking for a 5-Series/E-Class/A6 class of vehicle recently, and the new 5-er feels in-your-face obviously cheap, and is orders of magnitude worse than its competitors. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I am not at all fond of the new F10 5-Series, for the exact reasons you mentioned. It doesn’t look any nicer than a base Hyundai Genesis sedan if you don’t at least opt for the nicer seats and real leather upholstery, and BMW does nothing to hide the wide expanses of drab plastic. Plus I hear that the Bavarians couldn’t even be bothered to strengthen some of the alloy designs for the car’s increased weight over the E60, leading to some instances of bent wheels.

      If you like superb craftsmanship and sporty handling, the new Lexus GS might just do it for you; the Audi A6 is also quite nice. If you’re not a GM-hater and like what you’ve seen thus far, you could wait for the 2014 Cadillac CTS to debut (and for the inevitable cash incentives a few months later). The facelifted-for-2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class looks great, and there’s always the Jaguar XF if you’re feeling risky. Really, anything is nicer than the 5-Series. Here’s hoping the F10 gets a *really* thorough facelift, or “Life-Cycle Impulse”…or whatever BMW likes to call it.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    So, BMW figured out how to make the car drive itself, but they couldn’t put a freakin’ lift-gate on it?!?!?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It does have a liftgate. Just as with the E53 and E70 (and Range Rover and Volvo XC90), the F15 employs a liftgate at the top and a tailgate at the bottom, a system that I personally think is pretty sweet. It’s much better than my friend’s Lexus GX 470, whose side-swinging rear door is hinged the wrong way (it opens toward the curb).

      Of course, knowing BMW, only the liftgate will be powered. It seems you’d have to upgrade to the new L405 Range Rover to get both a powered liftgate and tailgate.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I can see it now. LA commuters learn that they can cut off new BMWs because of their automated system-dictated gaps in traffic. Hilarity ensues.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    There was a time when you could enjoy a car……
    I don’t think that exists anymore in the U.S.
    We are the ultimate ‘mouse on a treadmill’ nation.
    Biggest and best at the cost of:
    High crime
    broken families
    Lack of a moral code
    Inability to govern OURSELVES!!
    So why not make a “ultimate driving machine” for the ultimate
    nation that cant drive themselves in their own lives!!!

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    So, liek OMG if im txting my bff marjorie aftr my spa day, toatlly picts off my chem peeled face wit duckbill kisss XOXO LOL, this thing will liek drive itself?

    My daddy said he wouldnt buy me another car bc i crash my Marcates txting, this is perfect!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I don’t know about this man…In the movie “2001″ the spaceship drove itself and it didn’t turn out well for the crew.


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