Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

Fiat Chrysler, BMW, and Intel announce plans to build self-driving tech

August 16th, 2017

Enlarge / Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne speaks at an event in Michigan on August 26, 2016. (credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is joining forces with BMW and Intel to develop self-driving car technology, the company announced on Wednesday. FCA is joining an existing alliance between BMW and Intel that also included Mobileye, the self-driving technology company Intel announced it was acquiring in March.

FCA is the smallest of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, and its approach to the self-driving car revolution has been less ambitious than rivals GM and Ford. GM paid $1 billion for self-driving car startup Cruise last year and is hoping to develop its own self-driving car technology. Ford invested $1 billion in the self-driving car startup Argo AI earlier this year and has also opened a technology subsidiary in Silicon Valley.

By contrast, FCA seems content to rely more on partners to supply the self-driving technology it will need to make its vehicles competitive in the coming decade.

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The best of the 2017 New York International Auto Show

April 14th, 2017

Jonathan Gitlin

NEW YORK—It seems like barely any time has passed since our last major auto show, but the world’s auto makers are back in Manhattan this week for the 2017 New York International Auto Show. You’ll be able to read (and watch) our take on many of the new vehicles on display in the coming days, but what follows are our picks for the best new models you’ll be able to see at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, starting today when the auto show opens to the public.

Outstanding in the Automotive Technology field: Cadillac Supercruise

Since this is a technology site, we’ll kick things off with the best new automotive technology of this year’s NYIAS. That honor belongs to Cadillac, which is joining the semi-autonomous driving fray with its new “level 2” system, called Supercruise. We have driven some pretty good semi-autonomous systems recently: Audi, Volvo, and Tesla all spring immediately to mind. These use a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assists to keep your car on track on the highway, backing up the human driver to counteract fatigue and provide a little digital helping hand on long drives. Supercruise combines those two driver assists with a few extra neat features that mark the next step on the road to fully self-driving vehicles.

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Posted in alfa romeo, Ars Approved, BMW, cadillac, Cars Technica, Features, Ford, NYIAS, porsche, RAM, volvo | Comments (0)

BMW’s all-new 2017 5 series stirs up a technology tsunami

February 1st, 2017

Jim Resnick

Pleasing widely diverse masters can be a death sentence. For BMW’s newest 2017 5 series sedan, competing interests tug on it in a multitude of different directions. The traditional BMW enthusiast who factors fun first needs all the best of BMW’s driving machine DNA—and needs it close to the skin. Those needy for general luxury prefer isolation rather than inclusion in the driving process. The tech-focused need digital entertainment. So this is a veritable three-ring circus of sport sedan requirements. BMW’s last-generation 5 series garnered mixed feelings, so with the all-new G30 platform 5 series, BMW hopes to reboot impressions, and we’ve driven it.

Launching globally on February 11, the new 5 is actually a bit lighter than the last iteration, BMW quoting a weight loss of as much as 137lb (62kg) from the outgoing model, depending on exact model compared. The new 5 also comes out of the starting gate with several engine configurations. The bottom of the range here in the US is the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, issuing 248hp (185kW) and 258lb-ft (350Nm) in the 530i, netting acceleration to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds or 5.8 when equipped with BMW’s “xDrive” all-wheel-drive. A 3.0L, 335hp (265kW) inline six, which also generates 332lb-ft (450Nm) of torque, powers the 540i to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds or 4.7 seconds with xDrive. Later this spring, the M550i with all-wheel drive will debut, powered by a 456hp (347kW) turbocharged V8 packing 480lb-ft (650Nm) of torque, promising even quicker, 3.9-second 0 to 60 blasts, quicker than the outgoing M5.

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McLaren and BMW team up to build engines again

February 1st, 2017

BMW

For plenty of car nerds, the names McLaren and BMW together mean something special in the engine department. BMW built the legendary 6.1L V12 that powered the McLaren F1, an engine that, in its detuned state, won Le Mans more than once. In the years since the F1, McLaren’s cars have been powered by Mercedes-Benz and, more latterly, a family of 3.8L twin-turbo V8s. Now McLaren and BMW are joining forces to work on engines once more.

The plan is to increase the specific output—the amount of power per unit volume—of the engines in McLaren’s forthcoming road cars while trying to meet socially acceptable CO2 limits. The two companies will also work with Ricardo (the British engineering company that helped develop McLaren’s current M838T engine), Grainger and Worrall (which will handle casting), Lentus Composites (composite materials), and the University of Bath.

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BMW concept car interior puts holographic controls at your fingertips

January 7th, 2017

LAS VEGAS—At CES this year, BMW showed off a concept car as part of its “i Inside Future” exhibit, which was built upon the idea that car interiors could be more friendly and inviting. With its rich textures and light wooden accents, the concept car feels more like an artisanal nook than a cold vessel of technology.

But arguably more interesting than its holistically-designed frame is the new HoloActive Touch system, which builds on BMW’s earlier AirTouch dashboard system.

AirTouch debuted at CES 2016 and uses sensors on the dash to pick up hand gestures. It allows you to control parts of the information system without pressing any physical buttons. HoloActive Touch adds a new layer by placing holographic action buttons near the center console. The buttons provide haptic feedback when “pressed” using a hand gesture. BMW told Ars that this concept car was mostly designed with autonomous vehicles in mind and likely wouldn’t be a reality for another 15 years. Nevertheless, it was exciting to play with now. Check out the video below to see a demo of HoloActive and BMW’s concept car.

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Posted in Aircraft carriers, BMW, Cars Technica, concept car, i inside | Comments (0)

Lock suspect in stolen car to bust him? There’s an app for that…

December 6th, 2016

The smileworthy technology story of the week has a car thief suspect remotely locked inside a stolen car. Except we’re calling it busted.

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Vision Next 100: Meet BMW’s vision of the future in the coming years

October 15th, 2016

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—On Tuesday, BMW showed off its four new concept cars under one roof together for the first time. These cars included not only the new BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, but also a new futuristic Rolls-Royce, Mini Cooper, and BMW. Each shows us that marque’s view of its place in a world where our vehicles are intelligent and drive themselves, which some see as an existential threat to companies, like BMW, that have made their reputations by focusing on driver engagement.

The star of the show, which took place in the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hanger, was BMW’s new motorcycle, which combines previous models revealed in Munich, London, and Beijing. The concepts also build on ideas that BMW showed us at CES in January, notably the triangle-based UI for the BMW VISION NEXT 100, as well as the way its seats move and cant together when in self-driving mode.

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The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the flexible motorcycle of the future

October 11th, 2016

Cyrus Farivar

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—BMW has been celebrating its centenary this year under the tagline, “The Next 100 Years.” As part of that celebration, the company has created a number of concepts that imagine its future vehicles, and, today in Los Angeles, the company took the wraps off the latest, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100.

Concept cars and bikes fall into two distinct categories; thinly veiled production machines designed to get consumers ready for a new model and more outlandish, forward-looking affairs that often include technology that’s still just a twinkle in the design team’s eye. The latter is definitely the case for BMW’s Vision Next 100 concepts, but that makes them no less interesting.

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Posted in Ars gallery, BMW, Cars Technica, electric motorcycles | Comments (0)

BMW will make an electric Mini and an electric X3 SUV after all

September 30th, 2016

It says “Mini” but every generation gets bigger and bigger. (credit: Jim Resnick)

BMW confirmed to Bloomberg today that it will start work on an electric Mini and an electric X3 SUV. This news comes after reports of deliberation on BMW’s electric strategy among the company’s top executives earlier this month.

Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger told Bloomberg that the all-electric Mini would be market-ready by 2019 and the X3 SUV would be a 2020 vehicle.

Reuters reported three weeks ago that BMW’s top executives had been resistant to the idea of building an electric Mini-brand car. Minis have a smaller profit margin than BMW-brand cars, they argued, and the investment costs of building an all-electric vehicle are considerable. A few executives felt that BMW should push ahead in the electric vehicle field, but after the weak US performance of the i3, other bigwigs were apparently not convinced that committing additional investment to purely electric cars would make financial sense.

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Posted in BMW, Cars Technica, Electric vehicles | Comments (0)

BMW at critical junction on electric car strategy, Reuters says

September 12th, 2016

A BMW i3 drawing. (credit: BMW)

Late last week, Reuters reported that several top executives from BMW would be skipping the Paris Motor Show to figure out how the company will proceed in its electric car strategy.

Anonymous sources said the company is weighing whether it will change course on its electric i3 program, which only saw 25,000 deliveries last year. Some executives want the company to produce an electric Mini that would hit markets as soon as 2019—but that’s likely an expensive endeavor since the company would have to alter the Mini platform to house a giant battery and upgrade its factories to accommodate that production. One anonymous source told Reuters it would be more expensive to retool the i3 platform for a Mini body than to re-engineer the Mini platform to support the kind of battery it would need to be all-electric.

Still, government regulation in the US and Europe is increasingly favoring low- and zero-emissions vehicles, and the popularity of Tesla’s Model 3—which received hundreds of thousands of reservations in the week after it was announced—are encouraging companies to invest in electric vehicles.

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Posted in BMW, Cars Technica, electric cars, i3 | Comments (0)