Category Archives: Information

How Close Is BMW to Creating Autonomous Vehicles?

There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding self-driving cars recently, both about BMW and the broader auto industry. It seems like we’re perpetually on the cusp of a world in which no one has to physically drive their own cars anymore. When will autonomous vehicles — and, more specifically, self-driving BMWs — really be ready?

The Five Levels of Autonomous Driving

Experts define five levels of autonomous driving, with each one being more advanced than the one before it. Level one includes driver assist technologies that help the driver but don’t take control over the car. In level five, the vehicle operates itself completely, and the people in the car are merely passengers.

Level one technologies are commonplace in today’s world, and all new BMW models have them. BMW Personal CoPilot driver assistance systems are examples of level one tech. These systems include Active Cruise Control with the Stop&Go function, which adjusts your distance to the car in front of you. The Collision and Pedestrian Warning system with City Brake Activation uses automatic braking to prevent collisions.

Some Beamers also have level two technologies. In this level, the car can take control, but the driver is still responsible for vehicle operation. These systems include BMW’s Steering and Lane Control Assistant, which includes Traffic Jam Assistant. Designed to make everyday driving easier, these systems can take over steering, in addition to automatically braking and accelerating. Another example is the remote-controlled parking function.

In keeping with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s autonomous vehicle testing guidelines, BMW is currently testing cars with level three and level four autonomy. It aims to introduce level three cars to the consumer marker by 2021. These vehicles would be able to drive autonomously for longer periods, but drivers would still need to be ready to take control quickly and would have to drive under some conditions.

BMW is also testing level four cars and has a fleet of around 40 of them in Munich and California. In level four, the vehicle drives autonomously the majority of the time, although the driver must still be able to take over.

BMW’s Current Efforts

With a research and development team of about 1,000 people, BMW is working continuously on its autonomous vehicle technologies. The company does much of its research and development work out of its Silicon Valley technology office. The company is also testing the vehicles in California and Munich.

The test vehicles are loaded with cameras, lidar systems and other sensors that allow them to capture data about their environment. This includes information about the motion of other vehicles, the presence of pedestrians and other hazards. Hardware located in the trunk of the cars process all this information and puts it into action.

BMW is working with several partners on its autonomous vehicle tech, including Intel Corp., which owns sensor maker Mobileye. BMW also works with German automotive parts maker Continental AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. BMW has said it’s open to working with other collaborators and is pursuing a nonexclusive platform for the development of self-driving technology.

The iNext Concept

The Vision iNext concept provides a glimpse into what the future of BMW vehicles may look like. The idea behind the iNext concept is to turn the vehicle into a “living space on wheels.” It’s designed to be a place where you can relax as if you were at home, while still having the option of the driving experience BMW is known for.

The driver has two options for what experience they want to have in this iNext concept vehicle. In Boost mode, the driver is in full control, and the steering wheel is easily accessible. In Ease mode, the car operates autonomously. The steering wheel retracts slightly, freeing up some space. The vehicle includes two interactive digital screens that display information, such as your speed and your proximity to other cars.

The company premiered the concept at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It plans to have a production version in its showrooms by 2021 in the form of a level-three, all-electric SUV from its “i” brand.

Today’s new BMWs already have some autonomous functionalities, but we’re still a relatively long way off from fully autonomous, level five vehicles. We need more technological advancements as well as substantial safety testing, and federal rules will need to evolve further before we can fully adopt self-driving vehicles. BMW, however, expects Beamers with level-three capabilities to hit showrooms by 2021.

BMW, along with the rest of the auto industry, is moving steadily toward an autonomous future.

How to Become a BMW Salesperson

So, you want to be a BMW salesperson. While the job can be challenging at times, it does have its perks — the chance to make a decent living and spend a significant portion of your day talking about BMWs.

The pay for car salespeople varies widely depending on where you work and how skilled you are at selling cars since a significant portion of your pay comes from commissions. According to payscale.com, the average pay is $41,768.

Most BMW salespeople, however, make between $89,000 and $171,000, according to glassdoor.com. On top of that, most automobile salespeople sell between 200 and 1,000 cars every year and average more than one each day.

Being a car salesperson isn’t for everyone though. You need to be great with people and have skills in sales and customer service. You also need to have knowledge of cars and financing options.

Plus, you have to be prepared to be on your feet all day and work long hours, weekends and some holidays. If you want to work at BMW, you should also have a passion for beamers.

If you think you’re up for the challenge though, being a BMW salesperson can be an excellent career. Here’s how to make it happen.

Gain Experience

You don’t need a college degree to become a BMW salesperson, but you should have completed high school. It can be helpful if you’ve completed some sort of commercial or technical professional training related to sales, marketing or a related field.

You could take a few classes at a local college or enroll in an online training program. If you hope to move into a management position, a bachelor’s degree in business may be helpful.

BMW also prefers that you have some sort of experience in sales or customer service. You might start in a retail, sales or customer service position unrelated to cars, or you could get a job at another car dealership before moving up to BMW. The dealership you apply to will also consider your personality, skill set and enthusiasm for BMW.

Apply to Become a Junior Salesperson

Once you feel you’re ready, you can apply to become a junior salesperson at BMW. Simply search BMW’s website for open positions or look in the classifieds section of your local newspaper.

Complete the BMW Training Program

If your application is accepted, BMW will automatically enroll you in its car salesperson training program. The program is modular and will adapt to your experience and skill level. It will take a maximum of 12 months to complete. The program consists of several phases:

  • The introductory training will teach you about the BMW brand, the product lines, the BMW technologies most crucial for sales and the steps of the sales process. This will take about one week.
  • The basics module takes about two weeks and involves learning the essential consultation techniques and putting them into practice. It concludes with an exam and oral test.
  • The advanced modules will help you to improve your existing skills as needed. You’ll look at real-life cases and work with BMW retail organizations.
  • The specializations modules will teach you additional skills depending on your department, the size of your dealership and other conditions.

Check License Requirements

Depending on the state you live in, you may need a license to become a car salesperson. Check the requirements for your home state.

In California, you need to submit an application and pay a fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In Colorado, you need to pass an exam in addition to submitting an application and paying a fee.

You can also choose to participate in voluntary certification programs through organizations such as the Society of Automotive Sales Professionals (SASP) and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Move Up

Once you complete the above requirements, you can become a BMW salesperson. If you do well and decide to stay in the field, you may eventually want to move up. Junior salespeople can eventually be promoted to more senior sales positions.

If you want to become a sales manager, you may need to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in business if you don’t already have one. After some more time in the industry, you may even decide to start your own dealership or buy an existing one and run the whole operation.

The requirements to become a BMW salesperson aren’t extremely stringent, but the job can be demanding and requires a specific set of skills. If you find success in this field, you can have a rewarding career as a BMW salesperson.

BMW Unveils the M850i Night Sky, With One Surprising Element

Who doesn’t love a beautiful Bimmer? Exciting news then that BMW Group has unveiled their latest model, the M850i Night Sky, and it is truly, out of this world.

Beyond looks, we all know just how functional BMW vehicles are. As it turns out, this one is just a little more functional, in ways you may not have ever expected. It’s also downright stunning, with a one-of-a-kind design and composition that we will likely never see again… like ever.

Image via BMW Press

For Starters, the M850i Has 3D Printed Components

The vehicle is constructed of parts made through additive manufacturing — the fancy term for 3D printing. Its design was a planned effort meant to coincide with a rather exciting meteor shower that took place recently. In a way, the shower also played a role in deciding what materials were used.

Within the last couple of weeks, Earth passed through the orbit of a longstanding asteroid named 2003 EH. Several meteorites from the asteroid actually landed on the planet’s surface. They were scooped up and used to print components of BMW’s new model. Yes, the M850i has actual meteorites embedded within. How badass is that?

Image via BMW Press

Through a convergence of aluminum and meteoric rock materials, the M850i is rocking — pun definitely intended — 3D printed side mirror caps, brake calipers, as well as air intakes and a center mesh plate.

Throughout the vehicle, the Widmanstätten pattern was also used to give the model an added layer of galactic style. In short, Widmanstätten is a 3D octahedral pattern or structure that can be found in iron meteorites. It also looks fantastic when used to accent the center console of a vehicle.

The M850i’s exterior is also adorned with a custom paint job. All the paint was applied by skilled hands, as an even gradient starting with a brilliant San Marino blue near the bottom and fading into a deep black near the top.

Tinsel and bronze pigments were also used in the first coat. This gives it a captivating and unique look, remarkably similar to what you see on the horizon just after sunset — pockmarked with distant lights.

Not Just a Looker

Image via BMW Press

The M850i Night Sky is nothing to scoff at either. It was modeled after the M850i xDrive Coupe and is propelled by the same 530 horsepower twin-turbo V8 with top speeds of up to 155 miles-per-hour.

It looks great, offers incredible performance, and likely feels great to sit in, especially when the engine is running.

Unfortunately, there’s no mention of price, nor who might have commissioned the vehicle to add to their fleet. It’s entirely possible it will serve as nothing more than a concept forever to grace just our eyes with its true inner and outer beauty.

Even so, one could bet an endless supply of meteoric rocks on the fact that if it did have a price, well, very few of us would be able to afford it.

Now, let’s all collectively turn our attention back to the beautiful photos of this vehicle and drool over it for a few minutes more. It’s the least we can do for something so truly wondrous.