"In some situations that are favourable, our cars can drive themselves today. There's no technical problem with that," the new board member in charge of BMW's supply and purchasing said in Sicily last week.
"It's not too risky in some situations with autonomous driving and it's clear that the limit is not the technology. We already have that.
"The limit is a legal situation that's different from country to country and that's only in Europe. It's much worse in most of the U.S.," he admitted.
He insisted a combination of the computer control of a modern car's brake and accelerator pedals, combined with electro-mechanical steering, lane-departure cameras and radar cruise control, all controlled by the same computer, meant the core tasks of autonomous driving were handled already.
"If you drive a modern premium car on the autobahn or motorway, with lane-departure warning switched on and the active cruise control switched on, it's more or less autonomous anyway, depending on the philosophy of the car company," he said.
"If there is a traffic jam on the motorway, for example, the car can recognise that and stop, restart when the traffic moves, stop, restart and stay in the lines without hitting anything.
"Autonomous is not far away at limited speeds in a traffic jam. That's the easy part, and we can always combine that with infrastructure information coming into the navigation computer."