BMW has updated its Highway Assistant feature, which is part of the optional Driving Assistance Professional Package on various models like the iX, 5 Series, 7 Series, X5, X6 (except M Competition models), X7, and standard on the XM. This feature allows hands-free driving up to 85 mph where it’s safe and legal. The previous version of the Highway Assistant, which is offered in most 2022 models, had a speed limit of 40 mph and required the driver to keep their eyes on the road at all times. The new version, however, will increase the speed limit to 85 mph and use an advanced eye-tracking system to monitor the driver’s attention level. This means that the driver can relax more and enjoy the ride, as long as they are ready to take over when needed.
We’ve already seen the 2024 5 Series with a new enhancement to the Highway Assistant: Active Lane Change with eye activation. This new system will also be available on select BMW models starting from March 2024. With the Active Lane Change, the car suggests a lane change. The driver can approve this suggestion just by looking at the corresponding outside rearview mirror. Of course, the maneuver will only be possible if it’s completely safe to change lanes. To that end, the driver gets a visual (and audio) prompt in the digital instrument cluster about when the hands-free lane change procedure can be done. If you prefer to have some control, the driver can still manually turn on the turn signal.
Starting from March 2024, Active Lane Change with eye activation will be added to the Highway Assistant on iX models. In April 2024, it will also be available on the X5, X6 (except the M Competition models), and X7. We recently tested the Highway Assistant in the BMW iX and worked well over long distance making driving a lot more comfortable.