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BMW shifts i division from electric and hybrid cars to autonomous taxis

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Frank Wilkerson
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BMW i division, responsible for this i8 concept, will shift to focus on autonomous vehicles

BMW has made a major change to its i division, moving away from the development of electric and hybrid cars and instead focusing on vehicles which drive themselves.

BMW will now not release an all-new electric vehicle until 2021, and is instead focused on developing self-driving features as part of a major strategic shift.

Speaking to Reuters, BMW board member Klaus Froehlich, head of development at the German carmaker, said the i division had been relaunched in April as a unit focused on producing autonomous cars.

Echoing thoughts shared by BMW with IBTimes UK at the Geneva motor show in March, Froehlich suggests the company could launch a ride-hailing business like Uber, but without any drivers.

The concept, referred to as a 'robotaxi' would be somewhere between a private taxi and a public bus, autonomously ferrying commuters from home to work.

Uber is developing its own autonomous cars, while Ford also sees a future where small self-driving buses take commuters to the office.

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Frank Wilkerson
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