Wired Magazine features the BMW Night Vision

Interesting | October 23rd, 2009 by 1
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When the new BMW 7 Series launched, an improved version of the Night Vision System shipped together with the car. Featuring an upgraded camera, the …

When the new BMW 7 Series launched, an improved version of the Night Vision System shipped together with the car. Featuring an upgraded camera, the Night Vision System features a better resolution and improved object-recognition. The system will warn the driver if he is in danger of a collision with any detected object or human.

Compared to the traditional navigation system, the Night Vision System is also able to detect road speeds without relying on pre-saved data on the hard drive. Therefore, if the limit is reduced because of road-building-measures, the Night Vision system will actually be able to detect it.

The system will be able to detect humans and to display a flashing warning triangle in the dashboard if any humans should appear in front of the car. The system is built to function not only in good weather conditions, but also at night, even in rain or foggy conditions. The car won’t slow down automatically though, but it will emit a warning signal in the dashboard if he is driving to fast.

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We’ve tested the Night Vision Camera in our 750i loaner and we were impressed by its accuracy and usefulness at night.

Earlier this week, Wired Magazine published an analysis of the BMW Night Vision System and we’re going to post some of their findings:

The Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection system significantly advances the first-gen system found in the last 7-series by adding people-spotting technology that distinguishes between animals and humans. The system was developed by the Swedish firm Autoliv Electronics. It is the latest evolution of technology that Lexus and Mercedes-Benz also have offered since Cadillac brought it to the automotive sector in the 2000 Deville sedan.

Since then, thermal imaging has made way for far- and near-infrared cameras that detect even the smallest changes in temperature. BMW’s passive system uses far-infrared technology to scan for heat, whereas Mercedes’ near-infrared system illuminates the road with projected infrared light. The BMW system stands apart for its extreme depth, clarity in rain and ability to minimize extraneous information. Despite the added safety such systems offer, Cadillac and Lexus dropped them because few people bought them. But BMW, like Mercedes, still sees a market for it.

The system does a great job of helping you see in the dark, but it is not without flaws.

BMW isn’t suggesting drivers switch off their headlights. The $2,600 option compliments the 7-Series’ adaptive headlights, which follow your steering inputs to help you see around that turn. The system provides a crisp, clear picture of 1,000 feet of pavement ahead of you, a distance Autoliv says is twice the range of the headlights. That can mean the difference between avoiding that deer and totaling your $110,000 Bimmer.

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