- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2016

BMW CEO Harald Krueger told shareholders at its annual meeting in Germany that he expects to have autonomous, intelligent cars on the road by 2021.

Mr. Krueger told a Munich audience on Thursday that i NEXT, the luxury carmaker’s “innovative driver” campaign, will launch in five years. During that window of time the company will unveil its 2018 BMW i8 Roadster and continue to push forward into “the next generation of electro-mobility.”

“People often ask me, when will we be driving autonomously? My answer is: We already can,” Mr. Kruegersaid. “A BMW test vehicle autonomously completed a lap of the Hockenheimring racetrack back in 2006. In 2011, a BMW drove on the A9 autobahn from Munich towards Nuremberg — without any driver intervention. It will be a while before these cars reach series maturity, also because the proper legal framework for customers and manufacturers has not yet been decided.”

The CEO went on to say that it is important to see the race to provide self-driving cars as a marathon instead of a sprint.

“In just a few weeks, we will offer an i3 with 50 percent more battery capacity. In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i NEXT, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road,” Mr. Krueger said.

Mashable responded to the news by calling it a “challenge to Tesla,” and The Verge said it was clear that BMW’s current electric cars “are no fluke.”

“The world of electric cars is about to get a whole lot more interesting,” The Verge reported.

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