Why BMW's Self-Drifting Car Is A Step Forward For Driverless Tech

You're looking at BMW's self-drifting BMW M235i. What's interesting about it isn't that it can do perfect circle donuts, but that it proves something reassuring about driverless cars.


We have all seen BMW's self-drifting car before, but when it debuted three months ago, it seemed more like a gimmick than anything else. Drifting, more than just about anything else you can do with a car, is about the driver having a good time. Without a driver, what's the point?

Well, there is something interesting about how these cars can handle themselves.

I first saw this video because it's done by Studio Kippenberger and Luke Huxham (the guy who did that amazing Yakuza Lamborghini film), and it looks awesome. But it has a point.

I've always wondered how a driverless car would react in an emergency kind of situation. A car crashes in front of me on the highway, a deer runs into the road. To stay safe and dodge a possible wreck, the car would have to break traction. I know that a well-trained driver can handle that, anticipating how the car will slide and preparing how to catch it.


And while I've seen videos of driverless cars performing well up to the screeching limit of adhesion, but I've never seen a video of a driverless car going over the limit. Not until this video, at least. It's a very clever demonstration that an autonomous vehicle can handle itself even in the most extreme situations in which a car can find itself.

This BMW is sliding as well as the best human, and while that looks cool, it's also kind of reassuring. Not only are driverless cars better than humans in regular driving, they're better in emergencies, too.


davesaddiction @ opposite-lock.com

...they're better in emergencies, too.

I think you're speaking a little too soon here...

A computer may react better than the majority of drivers in a fairly routine panic situation, but a skilled driver is taking in and processing much more information than any current computer-driven system can hope to.

Would a computer-driven car accept the possibility of sacrificing its passenger in an attempt to not strike a child that runs into the road?