There’s some pretty exciting stuff happening at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing. Not only has production of the fully-electric BMW i7 begun, but the company has also announced a new pilot project where vehicles in production can ‘drive around’ the production plant on their own without a driver.
The unique project is called the “Automated Driving In-plant’ in collaboration with two startups, Seoul Robotics and Embotech from Switzerland. Seoul Robotics will be responsible for the sensor software while Embotech is tasked with the driving software.
The goal is for vehicles to move autonomously around the assembly plant safely, efficiently, and without requiring a driver. The new system will first be trialed on two cars incorporating breakthrough technologies: the new BMW 7 Series and the fully electric BMW i7.
“Automated driving within the plant is different from autonomous driving for customers. It doesn’t use sensors in the vehicle. In fact, the car itself is more or less blind and the sensors for maneuvering them are integrated along the route through the plant,” explains BMW Group project manager Sascha Andree.
Instead, a series of sensors and driving software transmit driving commands to the driverless vehicles via mobile communications. With that, vehicles fresh off the production line will drive themselves to a parking area, ready for their journey by train or truck.
The pilot project will run for several months before being implemented for other BMW models and eventually in other assembly plants.