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Technology / AI and automation

How autonomous cars hit the road this week

As the pace of development in autonomous and electric powered cars continuously accelerates predictions are already being made about how quickly the majority of vehicles on European roads will be electric and autonomous.

Traditional automakers have begun rolling out their own driverless and assisted driving vehicles, with several announcements this week alone.

BMW, Volkswagen Group, Ford, Daimler, have announced the forming of a new joint venture based in Europe to build almost 400 fast charging sites along motorways for electric vehicles.

The automakers involved, which also include Audi and Porsche, mentioned that the charging stations will offer power levels of up to 350Kw, which in comparison to Tesla, is more than double of its Supercharger network.

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BMWIts network is based on the Combined Charging System (CCS) standard which uses a connector that is fully compatible with most current and next generations BEVs.

Its BEVs are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations, which can recharge brand-independently.

The build-up, which is planned to begin in 2017, is expected to give customers access to thousands of high-powered charging points by 2020.

Harald Kruger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move towards electric mobility.

“The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp-up e-mobility.”

All automobile manufacturers intend to make substantial investments in creating the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility.

Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company said: “A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving.”

Next page – what is the most complex automated drive system being rolled out, and where?
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