MUNICH—After watching very funny but disconcerting test footage of BMW’s automatic braking system from the IIHS, the team at BT decided to jet over to Germany to try to find the source of the failure.
We met with a team of engineers in a conference room, and they attempted to explain what went wrong.
“So our system doesn’t work like the others do.”
The man pointed to a poster on an easel he had prepared for the meeting.
“Our car first has to scan the face. This is to determine who that person actually is.”
“In a split second, the car reads the person’s face, determines who they are, how much money they make, and how many family members they have. Also it tries to determine if they have ever owned a BMW in the past.”
Why is this necessary?
The man gestured for us to wait. “All of this happens in a tenth of a second. After it is complete, the car determines whether it should spill your coffee all over you and launch your kids into the dashboard, or just hit that poor fucker.”
The German engineers around the table nodded, “Ya, ya.”
We asked what happened in the IIHS test.
“The system scanned the robot kids face, matched with some kid who bullied Hans over there in grade-school! One in a million if you ask me, haha!”
“In general though, it likes to hit poor people who can’t afford to sue.”
“But if it saw like George Clooney or some shit?”
The engineer made a stopping gesture with both hands.
“Thing would grind to a halt.”