German carmaker BMW has transformed its electric car division, the "i" division to focus more on self-driving technology. BMW's rivals, Porsche, Tesla, and Audi are getting ready to launch fully electric cars by 2019.
BMW has decided to do so after the brand's only electric car, the i3 failed to garner good sales last year. BMW sold a mere 25,000 cars last year, while Tesla has already received more than 3,70,000 bookings for the Model 3 that is to launch in 2017.
BMW, instead of taking on competition head on with an electric car, the company is looking to deliver an electric car with autonomous driving. To master the technique, BMW is hiring people with expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
BMW is looking to hire new people after some of the company's employees were hired by another Chinese electric vehicle startup. People like Dirk Abendroth, the Manager of BMW's "i" powertrain group, Henrik Wenders, the Vice President of Product Management at BMW "i", and Carsten Breitfeld, the Vice President of Engineering, and Head of the i8 vehicle program were poached.
The company will integrate the existing technology it has like cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keeping support, and automatic parking to its autonomous vehicles.