• Jun 6th 2008 at 11:29AM
  • 26
The next BMW 7-Series is going to be graced with some serious driving technology. While the image above doesn't appear to have anything like the picture quality of Mercedes' NightVision Assist, BMW's offering will have some other features that you probably won't find this side of a special ops base.

The second-gen night vision system will be able to detect humans in the road because it will use thermal imaging. It will alert the driver of human impediments up to 100 meters ahead, and it won't be confused by humans on the sidewalk. If a collision is imminent, a flashing warning triangle will appear on the screen and the heads-up display.

European versions of the car won't have to rely on navigation software to know the speed limit of a given road. A camera behind the rear-view mirror will read street sings in any country that is signed to the Vienna Convention -- which doesn't include the U.S. That function will work in any weather, even fog. It won't limit the speed of the car, but it will warn the driver if his or her speed is excessive. Word is they are considering naming the system "Hal." Thanks for the tip, Chris!

[Source: BMWblog]

The camera found in the Night-Vision-system will be improved as well, featuring 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. To test this technique they test drove over 250.000 kilometers at night, so the error margins are pretty slim. That's pretty impressive I would say.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd say it's more beneficial in, say, Montana where you have to worry about deer, elk, and other large furry critters. A good portion of the time people running or walking at night will be on lighted streets, and if they are not, the wouldn't be jogging down a dark road with a speed limit of 60 mph, though I'm sure it happens.

      I'd love to see how it would work at picking up deer and other animals as they have a tendency to stay off in the field/brush where it's much harder to see them even with HID lights.

      Of course, there's never going to be a substitute for driving slower and more cautiously at night time. What scares me are the people who are going to try driving with the lights off.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ...a flashing warning triangle???... thermal night vision?? Soooo... it'll be just like the Predator targeting system?

      Sweet. We are slowing inching closer to life imitating video game.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Now it will be even easier to run people over at night. :)

      jk of course
      • 7 Years Ago
      They had me at FLIR + HUD.

      But they lost me at speed sign reading... although it is good that it is euro-only, is GPS, sign-reading, and satellite traffic nav really that far away from being a speed-based tattle-tale?

      I like the idea of my car helping me out, not so much second guessing me, and telling me what I know that I am already doing. The HUD no doubt already reports the speed on the windshield.

      The only sliver-thin benefit to sign-reading tech would be that it might catch sneaky little sign placements that provide fodder for speed traps. A sign in an odd place, near brush cover, or something, and then a cop with a radar gun to catch those who don't catch sight of the new lower speed limit...

      I've been caught there, where the speed on a 4-lane divided highway drops suddenly on an incline, and the sign is not prominently placed. Pulled over for 54mph in a 45. I hadn't realized that the speed limit had dropped below 55, and thought I was still good. Blatant revenue trap.

      If a system makes that more obvious and avoidable... perhaps it isn't completely bad.

        • 7 Years Ago

        I don't disagree with your premise, but I don't think that the government and law enforcement work on that premise.

        Government AND Police departments benefit from writing more tickets. They aren't going to cut themselves off of that confiscatory funding, at a policy level.

        And Government NEVER gets stricter only to get more lenient officially. They just get stricter, and then get stricter again, and ignore the reality of why things happen.

        Why do people speed? some people do recklessly. Most people speed 5-10mph over the speed limit because the limits are artificially low, and abiding by the limits feels like chomping at the bit, and not getting where you need to be in a reasonable time.

        Most cars are far safer and more competent at high speeds than ever before, and more fuel efficient, as well. The days of "55 saves lives, and gas" are long past.

        With modern over-drive cars with good efficiency, they can cruise at 65-75, and cut more time off the trip than the extremely slight amount of extra fuel used, which especially multiplies on interstate travel, where the time margin gets significant.

        Get 25 mpg for 6 hours, or 24.5mpg for 5 hours for the same mileage kind of thing...

        Personally, I am not keen to give the government MORE power to be over-bearing, with the hopes that they'll give it back, when the people start behaving. Neither one of those results will ever happen.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'd be fine with speed limits becoming harder limits. If cars start tattling on people for exceeding a 55MPH limit to 65-70MPH around here and they actually start getting tickets, then those people will slow down. Once everyone's going under the speed limits, it ought to be really easy to pass some laws to increase those limits.

        Frankly, I find the low-by-design speed limits to be a tremendous breach of civilian rights since it pretty much makes everyone guilty regardless of how they're driving. If more tickets for harder limits can fix it, I'm all for it... though it will probably take some adjustment time.

        I'd love to request records for all the cop cars that are never going under the speed limit after that becomes available though - that'd be even greater. I hate getting passed by cops going 80-85MPH without their lights/sirens on.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is it me, or does that looks like a hooker in the image? ha
        • 7 Years Ago
        Hahahahaha...yes!!!! Woodward and McNichols in Detroit on a Tuesday night!

        Yes we got hookers, but we also got a team that just won the Stanley Cup!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Haha. I thought the same thing... though the warning sign is warning of a male. I wonder if the system is smart enough to tell the different genders apart.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "no, officer, it wasn't my fault. my car told me it was ok to go 120 here. guess it didn't see the sign."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Didn't Cadillac offer this 5 years ago?
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's fair to say this is more advanced than what Cadillac offered/offers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      does it have to be accessed via the lovely iDrive system?
      Will it be able to tell the diff between hookahs and nightcrawlers?
      • 7 Years Ago
      so i guess it won't work on zombies, what good is it then?
      • 7 Years Ago
      i am sure this makes the invasion from mars easier now since they don't have to own human seeking device.
      memos to all martian strike force:
      your commander kudos is advising all troops to seek out the MY2009+ BMW 7series the their human hunting ability instead of carrying our own units due to higher fuel cause.
      captain kang
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Next BMW night vision system can target humans in the dark"

      Fixed it
        • 7 Years Ago
        nuuhu...theres still a yellow triangle there Mike! That person is STILL in danger.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Impressive. Let's just hope BMW makes the interface to this technology pleasant and not give us some annoying "briiing" sound which would just irritate the driver.

      Oh yeah, let's hope they adapt this technology to spot cop cars in the rear view mirror that are measuring your speed by pacing you. Heck, even spot them in the front too. This would be a more worthy application of the technology.

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