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BMW Wants to Build the Ultimate Self-Driving Machine

German automaker outlines timeline for autonomous accomplishments in new video

BMW published a video outlining its plans for autonomous driving, and it isn't slowing down its schedule for anyone. The short guides viewers through the five steps of autonomy, suggesting self-driving cars could be realized as early as 2030.

The video opens on a BMW 7 Series wafting along a highway. The driver removes his hands from the steering wheel as the narrator says we've already attained the second level of autonomy.

At this stage, drivers can take their hands off the wheel to perform tasks but must quickly resume control of the car. BMW offers this technology with 7 Series models on the market today.

Level 3 will arrive in the near future. Drivers will be able to take their eyes off the road completely and focus on another task. BMW projects Level 3 automated driving will arrive as soon as 2021.

Level 4 autonomous vehicles should arrive shortly after. Cars will be able to self-drive the majority of a journey and only require the driver to take over if things become particularly hairy.

BMW estimates Level 5 fully autonomous projects will begin in earnest as early as 2020 and will be offered in its cars as soon as 2030. It suggests the driver will become another passenger and will not need to be physically capable of driving.

The company that has a history of selling engaging cars is redefining its interpretation of driving pleasure by promising a serene, worry-free ride. As the video closes on BMW's VISION NEXT 100 concept in a futuristic cityscape, the German manufacturer solidifies its commitment to an autonomous future.