Currently, most automakers have Level 2 driver assistance systems
Level 3 systems monitor the driving environment and the car can drive itself in most situations, although it can require driver input
The next generation of BMW’s flagship 7 Series is due for 2023
BMW wants to be the first automaker to sell a vehicle equipped with level 3 autonomous driving capabilities in North America, which is likely to happen with the release of the new 7 Series for 2023.
Currently, all driver assistance features available on cars in North America are either level 1 or level 2.
The difference between a level 2 and a level 3 system is the level of implication of the driver. In a level 2 system, drivers are still driving when the feature is active since constant attention is required and they have to be able to take control immediately in case of an emergency.
In a level 3 system, drivers can be momentarily inattentive, provided they can take control if the system asks them to. This feature only works when set conditions are met, such as in a traffic jam.
With a level 3 system, drivers are no longer considered as actively driving the car since their attention is not always required to be focussed on the road.
BMW wants to integrate such a feature in the next generation of its flagship 7 Series sedan that is due to be released in 2023.
This system is likely to be optional in the beginning, but its availability should trickle down to more affordable models in the next years, with BMW already confirming a future availability on the new iX electric SUV.