BMW has been researching driverless parking for some time, and says its 7 Series will be the world’s first series-produced car to offer the functionality to consumers. Drivers will be able to instruct their vehicles into and out of parking spaces or garages without being at the wheel, using the newly-developed BMW Display Key. In addition to providing access to the vehicle, the key is a remote control for various functions and has an LCD screen for displaying information.
Other driving aid technologies featured in the new 7 Series will include a steering and directional control assistant, a Lane Departure Warning Assistant with active side collision protection and rear collision prevention, and cross-traffic warning functions. The Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function will allow users to set the vehicle to the detected speed limit with the push of a button.
Gesture control will be used in the new 7 Series for first time. A 3D sensor in the car will detect hand movements made by the driver, with which it will be possible to control infotainment functions. Turning up or down the volume of in-car audio and accepting or rejecting incoming calls to a user's smartphone are just two examples of what will be controllable via gesture, but it will also be possible to set up custom gestures and actions. The iDrive infotainment system interface will be operable by touchscreen for the first time, as well as by controller.
The 7 Series will be powered by a six-cylinder in-line engine from the new generation of BMW power units and will feature a "further developed" eight-speed Steptronic gearbox – Gizmag is waiting to hear back from BMW on what those developments are. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic in the structure of the passenger cell will contribute to more lightweight designs, as will new-generation lighter engines. Up to 130 kg (290 lb) will be shaved off the weight of the outgoing generation of cars, and emissions will be reduced as a result too.
BMW says ride comfort will be improved in a number of ways, including the use of two-axle air suspension with automatic self-leveling, an updated Integral Active Steering system and a Dynamic Drive roll stabilization system. Drivers will be able to choose more comfort-focused or sporty setups, or an adaptive setup that changes based on driving style and road-type.
The video below provides an introduction to some of the new 7 Series technologies.