German luxury carmaker BMW has unveiled its new flagship sedan. As Hayley Platt reports the 7 Series can park-itself without a driver, a world first. But will it sell?
Numerous auto makers are working on driverless cars. But BMW is ahead of the game as it's now selling one - well almost. It's new 7 Series is able to park itself. The driver uses a special key fob to activate the car's 'Parking Assistant.' Ian Robertson, a BMW board member, was at the unveiling in Munich. SOUNDBITE: Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, BMW AG, saying (English): "The car will use it's technology which is stereo cameras, which is radar, which is other forms of electronics that will park your car in a garage and therefore you don't need to be involved in that." The competition to develop autonomous vehicles is fierce. Audi, Mercedes and Nissan are all testing similar technologies. James Batchelor is from car magazine Auto Express. SOUNDBITE: James Batchelor, News Editor, Auto Express, saying (English): "It is very, very impressive, it's a little bit disconcerting to totally take control away from yourself onto a piece of technology but as a concept, as a total package it works very well." Self-driving cars could generate billions of dollars in revenue according to a new report by McKinsey & Company. And they say they could reduce the number of crashes in America by 90 percent. SOUNDBITE: Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, BMW AG, saying (English): "If I look at the development of self driving, this is in it's early early phases. Over the months and the years ahead this will progress further, so you will see the next steps that come with the vehicles that are being launched and will be launched but maybe we're a long way off yet from the point where you are fully autonomous driving and you can for example read a book." Google began testing its self-driving car in California in 2009. It's not the technology that's holding things up. SOUNDBITE: James Batchelor, News Editor, Auto Express, saying (English): "We'll probably be looking back in 20 years time thinking 'were you really driving your car by yourself that's so old fashioned'. The only problem we've got getting to that point is of course testing these autonomous cars. There needs to be a lot of legislation that needs to be passed at the moment that's not being done." None of the technology comes cheap BMW's latest offering has a starting price of just over $80,000.