There seem to be several different areas of research that are trending among automakers these days. We've seen increased efforts towards making vehicles more efficient with hybrid engines and other alternative fuel sources, and now another area of focus is centered on the development of models that can drive themselves. Taking innovation to a whole new level, BMW is lining up plans to experiment with this technology over the next few years, with ambitious goals set for each stage of the process.

In order to make this possible, the automaker recently announced it will be teaming up with Continental, an international automotive supplier that can produce the necessary BMW parts for the research. Continental brings several years of vehicle autonomy research experience to the table, and the BMW partnership will allow the automaker to stay ahead of the game to hopefully meet its goals.

Breaking the plan down further, BMW ideally wants to have partially automated vehicles on the roads in the greater Charleston area and beyond, by 2016. Taking it to the next level it plans to have highly automated cars by 2020, and fully automated cars by 2025. At the final stage, drivers will have the luxury of not having to monitor the self-driving system as closely. The automaker's research efforts thus far, are set to debut on the soon to be released 2014 S-Class.

Although there is still a long way to go in terms of research, here at Rick Hendrick BMW Charleston we expect to be hearing great things coming from the automaker over the next couple of years. It could only be a matter of time before a wide variety of models within the new BMW lineup offer self-driving capabilities. Until then, come visit us at 1518 Savannah Hwy Charleston, SC 29407-7845 where we could be happy to show you any of our current new or used BMW models. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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