• Jan 9, 2009
Click above to view a high-res gallery of photos from FLIR's CES 2009 demo.

Just like we thought, FLIR wasn't on board with our plan to drive their night-vision BMW through the Nevada desert, but we did get to check out the car's in-dash display.

Our demo was indoors only, though we still got a good idea of how it works. Showgoers passing in front of the BMW's heat-sensing camera appeared in nice detail despite the relatively small difference in their temperature and their surroundings. FLIR rep Jay James said the camera can detect a .05 degree difference in temperatures, which translates into many more shades of gray on the monitor.

The system is tuned to look several yards down the road and so was thrown off by the number of pedestrians within inches of its bumper. But whenever someone walked through its danger zone, the system's display indicated a pedestrian by outliing that person with a yellow rectangle.

The demo BMW had been retrofitted with the system, but new BMWs with the factory-installed version flash a yellow triangle in the head-up display to alert drivers to take action.


Live Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a pathfindIR thermal cam newly installed in my FJ cruiser for the long bad weather ski trips we make in the winter.

      100% agree that a Heads up display (HUD) in front of the driver is ideal, and not a top of the console mount - that should be reserved for audio or AV integration screens.

      I find the thermal image mesmerizing and any more distraction off center of the road for your eyes would make driving actually more hazardous!

      my 2 cents.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now, could someone use this technology to recognize the shape of a cop car for me? That would be really helpful!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is probably from CES 2009.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, RIT. 2009. It's been a hectic week. Headline fixed. And we're no longer driving through our dessert.
      • 6 Years Ago
      why i guess this is consumer grade FLIR
      • 6 Years Ago
      Desert, not dessert.
      • 6 Years Ago
      1) Is this the same infrared technology that those bad guys use to take see-through pictures of women?

      2) Please tell me that the camera is retractable and only pop-out when the button on the steering wheel is pressed. And if it does retract, will the 2 missing vertical chrome bar re-appear?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Night vision in a head up display (HUD) doesn't work because the picture is too small to distinguish anything without very high concentration...i.e. it's not helpful.
      The BMW system recognizes peds. calculated as being headed in a path across the front of the car, and provides a HUD indicator for location.
      Peds. walking parallel to the car e.g. on a sidewalk are seen, but don't trigger a warning.
      A side-by-side comparison of the BMW system and Caddy system would be like (no pun intended) night and day. The innovation is in the clarity, zoom function, field of view, countermeasures for icing, warning algorithm, etc.
      This is a far infrared FIR (thermal) system vs. a near infrared NIR (illuminators broadcast) system (Toyota/MB). FIR can see much further than NIR but is far costlier. NIR may have a better picture. FIR has no health concerns. NIR must be off when peds. are likely to be close to avoid eye damage (e.g. child in carriage stares at illuminators when crossing street in front of car).

      Cop car detection is sold by Valentine, Cobra, and others.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The caddy FLIRS exceeded the export specifications for commercial IR...they were essentially military grade/Figure of Merit systems, but since they were integrated into the cars the export Commerce/State people and DOD agreed to let them go. If someone really wanted to buy a caddy for the FLIR, it WAS possible. The next issue was replacement parts...after all, GM cars do have failures!! So the export people had to come up with all kinds of provisos to ensure accountability for the spare FLIR modules to repair the sheik's FLIR!

      BTW, it was fugly then and it's fugly now, especially with that big snout in the missing two vertical bars!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am in Michigan and this type of system would really help with deer. Those bastards really can come out of nowhere, especially at night!
      • 6 Years Ago
      To me it would make more sense, both from an ergonomical and safety standpoint, if the heat sensing display was set up as a heads up display. It just seems like you would end up taking your eyes off the road too often to really use the system to its potential.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Cadillac DTS offered the system you are describing several years back. The camera was mounted where the wreath and crest were on the grill. There was then a HUD that displayed the image on the windshield. It was pretty neat.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Good point.
        No idrive, no heat-sensor. Even more reason to shell out the big bucks for idrive?
      • 6 Years Ago
      X-Ray vision.... to see through clothes..... Now that would be impressive!
      Come on BMW.... stop slacking off!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just how well will this FLIR system sense Zombies?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Zombies are dead. No body heat. duh.
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