Catch a Glimpse of BMW’s New Driverless Car in Action

Google may have gotten the wheel turning for driverless cars but other manufacturers are quickly joining in — among them German luxury car manufacturer BMW.

BMW announced its ConnectedDrive Connect technology for a semi-autonomous car in Aug. 2011, according to MotorSixty, but has just recently released a video showing of the new wheels.

Check out the footage posted by MotorSixty’s YouTube channel to see the car in action and learn more about its technology:

MotorSixty states that the system works on highways that have been pre-mapped by the manufacturer so the computer knows where the car and nearby objects are located. MotorSixty compares technology to “advanced cruise control” but states when someone may be going to slow on the autobahn, “it looks for an open lane where it can safely merge at speeds up to 130 km/h (81 mph).”

Watch the vehicle and its engineers cruise around:

Late last year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that BMW said that having driverless cars on the road is about 10 years away — but it’s not the technology that’s lacking:

One test model has already performed a successful trial, driving between the German cities of Munich and Nuremburg on a high-speed autobahn without any driver input.

BMW continues to develop the technology – which is also being developed by the likes of Google, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz – but the company’s driving dynamics expert, Ulrich Pfundmeier, says governments and road management authorities are not yet ready for such cars.

“That is just dependent on the government,” he says. “My personal opinion is that in 10 or 15 years we will drive on the highway at a speed of maybe 120 [km/h]. You put in the navigation system where you want to go and on the highway you will go, and maybe read the newspaper.”

Gizmodo reports that Ford and Volvo have also begun developing driverless technology.

(Related: Check out this Blaze post with videos of Google’s driverless car in action.)