June 21, 2016
The British Motor Corporation's Mini line is planning ahead for the future, as many analysts and professionals in the industry believe that traditional driver-operated vehicles may become optional. In order to prepare for such a future, the BMC shared its vision of a future where free-floating robotic vehicles are available for all drivers to enjoy. The Mini Vision Next 100 is an electric concept car that picks up passengers autonomously and drives them where they need to go. In keeping with the futuristic image, this vehicle will also be able to change its color to fit the driver's preferences. Additionally, it will be capable of parking safely and recharging its fuel supply without a human doing so. During a presentation in London, the automaker is planning on covering all eventualities in order to provide drivers with the safest possible driving experience. This development is designed to improve accessibility, and the BMC is joined by BMW in planning ahead for such a future. Ian Robertson, the head of sales behind BMW said that such developments could open up millions of interested customers to a vehicle, especially if they would like to have a premium car and cannot afford one. The automatic parking technology can be ideal for drivers who live in the city as well, as they will have the opportunity to save time and stress on a parking job. Additionally, these vehicles can be expanded further, applied to a wider ground-transport market, which could include taxis, buses and rail systems. Such systems could be a welcome boost in the industry, which is valued at approximately $10 trillion. The concept of a shared ownership model could also extend further to vehicles under the primary BMW brand name. As of 2016, BMW is facing projected challenges in luxury cars sales. The Mercedes-Benz name is struggling to meet with sales quotas for the first time in over a decade. Though the auto manufacturer based a large amount of its identity on the brand name, research and development in the company is being carefully divided between projects, with many automatic driving systems scheduled for primary development in order to provide drivers with both automatic and manual vehicle options. That both of these industry giants are planning to make the eventual changes to driverless vehicles signifies how far along the concept and technology has come since its proposal. Such vehicles are designed to not only make the driving experience more accessible and enjoyable, but also to reduce the risk of accidents and driver-related issues on the road. Though still in development, such technologies promise to improve the automotive field for all drivers, no matter where they live.