Sensors in BMW vehicles can tell rescuers the severity of a crash

Interesting | January 9th, 2009 by 4
BMW Crash tests

USA Today is running an interesting article on BMW’s latest car safety technology and its ability to tell emergency responders the gravity of a car …

USA Today is running an interesting article on BMW’s latest car safety technology and its ability to tell emergency responders the gravity of a car crash. As they mention also, majority of the latest BMW models can assess car damage and collision factors on the spot, information that can be crucial to any emergency response authorities.

“This could save thousands of lives,” says Jeffrey Augenstein, a physician who is director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center that worked with BMW.

BMW Crash tests

BMW is not the first one to bring such advanced system to the table, GM already has the OnStar system which can detect a crash and its location. But BMW’s new system goes a bit further by using advanced sensors and an algorithm to calculate the severity of a crash, on a scale 1 to 100. Anything above the 20 mark signal the call center alerting them of potential major injuries.

I won’t reveal all the details and I would let USA Today take it from here.

Full Article

Thanks for the tip Gil!

  • The Lee

    If the only info it gives rescuers is a single 1-100 rating of the damage, then this system is next to useless. You’re not really saving the fire department/EMS any time by simply telling them how severe the damage is. If the system could give the emergency personnel a more detailed report of the accident (where the damage is on the vehicle, whether or not passengers are likely to be trapped inside the vehicle, whether or not the occupants are conscious, whether or not there is a fire), it could do some real good.

  • Gil

    I want that orange 7 Series in my driveway. lol.

  • Doug

    @The Lee:
    You’re right, by aggregating all this into a score it undermines any specific crucial information. But without having fire/smoke sensors, cabin camera, and heartrate/breathing sensors built into the shoulder straps, what can you really relay?

    It sounds like the score they’re relaying is relative to the intended level of impact resistance to which the car is designed, and that is very specific. You can’t know from the score exactly what happened, but you should be able to guess likelihood of the car being crippled, likelihood of serious injuries, the passenger compartment being compromised, or the car being off the road. At the very least it tells emergency providers how to prioritize their resources, if not necessarily what to bring to the party.

  • The Lee


    It’s only useful for prioritizing accidents if every car on the road has it. Otherwise how are you to know whether that GMC Envoy that smashed head-first into a telephone pole is worse off than an ’10 335 that grazed up against a concrete median and scored a 16 on BMW’s damage scale?

    How do you know that the geriatric that had a heart attack in his 7 series while driving is/isn’t worse off personally than an otherwise healthy 30-something male that had a similar accident? A minor accident to a frail person becomes a life-threatening situation, while a fairly significant accident for a healthy, young person could likely be brushed off.