I remember when Tesla made headlines around the world with its ‘Sentry Mode’ for most of its models. Even today you can still read about people being identified using footage from a Tesla model, recorded automatically when something goes wrong. Well, Tesla is no longer the only company offering a system that uses the on-board cameras of the car, to film unfortunate events. BMW also has one such option, dubbed BMW Drive Recorder. The applications are a bit different though.

The BMW Drive Recorder uses the cameras the car has to record footage whenever a crash happens. It is available in vehicles with BMW Operating System 7 produced from July 2019 with the optional equipment BMW Drive Recorder and the Surround View cameras from the optional equipment Parking Assistant Plus. Basically, it can offer recordings of up to 40 seconds. The system films all the time but it will only save footage from 20 seconds before an accident happens, and 20 after.

In order to set up the system, you need to do the following:

  1. Go to “APPS”, “Installed apps”, “Drive Recorder”
  2. To activate the BMW Drive Recorder for the first time, you have to accept the Legal disclaimer.
  3. When selecting “Settings” you will also find a setup assistant that you can access anytime.
  4. Please check the box “Recording allowed” to enable the Drive Recorder.
  5. Select the recording length before the trigger with a maximum of 20 seconds, the same can be done for “After trigger”.
  6. At “Camera selection” you can select your preferred cameras used for recording.
  7. Select the preferred “Recording Type”. Manually means you can start the recording in the app, with the Widget on your Home Screen or by long pressing the Panorama View button. Automatically means that the recording starts automatically if the vehicle sensors detect an accident situation.
  8. In the BMW Drive Recorder app click on ‘Saved recordings’ to find your recordings with additional information on date and time and with a preview of your recorded situation.

Saved videos can be played, exported and deleted. Depending on your country, exported videos also contain additional data of your recording, like position and velocity. For your own safety, the recording is only shown on the Central Information Display when the vehicle is moving slower than 5 km/h.