BMW only manufacturer to offer this innovative driver assistance system in a total of five model series
BMW Night Vision, the innovative driver assistance system introduced in the 7 Series in autumn 2005, is available from March 2006 also in the 5 Series Saloon, 5 Series Touring, 6 Series Coupé, and 6 Series Convertible (German & US markets). BMW thus offers this technology for extra safety at night not just in the top-of-the-range model, but also – as the only manufacturer – in a total of five model series, in this way making BMW Night Vision available to a large group of customers.
Infra-red technology incorporating a thermal imaging camera for extra safety in the dark. Driver support and active partner protection in one.
BMW Night Vision provides a new dimension of optical perception when driving at night. A thermal imaging camera detects human beings, animals and objects in front of the car before they become visible to the human eye in the headlights. The image generated by the system is transmitted to the central Control Display within the car presenting objects detected with increasing brightness as a function of the heat detected by the camera – and therefore making human beings and animals particularly conspicuous.
The thermal imaging camera covers a range of up to 300 metres or almost 1,000 feet ahead of the car. BMW Night Vision therefore offers the customer particular benefits when driving over land, down narrow lanes, through gateways leading into courtyards, and into dark underground garages, significantly enhancing driving safety at night.
With High-Beam Assist, introduced in autumn 2005 in the 5, 6, and 7 Series, which switches the high beam on and off automatically after activation via the stalk on the steering column, and BMW Night Vision, BMW is making yet a further contribution to the enhancement of traffic safety by means of innovations in technology. Both systems assist the driver in the dark, that is in a situation which requires a particularly high level of concentration. In this way BMW Night Vision and the High-Beam Assist also offer a considerable improvement of motoring comfort.
BMW opts for Far Infra-Red technology (FIR). Thermal imaging camera for enhanced detection of human beings and animals.
Conducting comparative studies and carefully observing independent scientific examinations, BMW's engineers have opted in favour of innovative far infra-red technology (FIR), most efficient in detecting persons, animals and objects at night. FIR offers the following benefits:
Reduction to the essential:
Far infra-red technology uses a thermal imaging camera highlighting in particular persons, animals and objects irradiating higher temperatures. FIR intentionally does not present a detailed image of the respective traffic situation, which would only delay the recognition of a human being within the overall image. In other words, insignificant details are cancelled out and do not distract the driver.
FIR enables the driver "to look further":
Covering a range of approximately 300 metres or almost 1,000 feet, FIR "looks" about twice as far as other systems. Hence, the driver is informed earlier on possible hazards – indeed, up to 5 seconds earlier at a speed of 100 km/h.
FIR cannot be "dazzled":
FIR cannot be dazzled by the headlights of oncoming traffic, by traffic lights, road lights and highly reflective surfaces such as traffic signs. And vehicles with FIR technology do not dazzle each other.
Over and above the advantages offered by the FIR principle from the start, BMW has enhanced this technology by adding further functions: The image presented follows the road in a panning process and distant objects can be shown larger as a function of speed (zooming).
Convenient use of BMW Night Vision like looking in the interior mirror.
BMW Night Vision presents a high-contrast black-and-white night image to the driver on the Control Display in the middle of the instrument panel. Benefiting from FIR technology, the driver only has to briefly check out the Display in order to recognise a hazard. So using BMW Night Vision is comparable to looking into the interior mirror in the car.
Examining the new system, BMW also considered the option to present the image in the driver's primary field of vision, for example in the Head-Up Display or in the instrument cluster, but this option was rejected for ergonomic reasons. Tests have shown that the combination of real-life and virtual images irritates the driver and is not the best solution.
BMW Night Vision in the 5, 6 and 7 Series sells in Germany at a price of Euro 1,950.- (US pricing - TBA).