BMW’s Night Vision technology, first introduced in the 7 Series late last year, is now offered as an option in the 5 and 6 Series.
Munich’s engineering buffs have used far infra-red technology (FIR) and a thermal imaging camera in their night vision system. The camera allows the device to cover a range of up to 300 metres, which allows a faster response time to possible hazards.
Once people, animals or objects are detected, the object becomes brighter as the distance between it and the car decreases. FIR cannot dazzle, or be dazzled by, other vehicles fitted with similar technologies, and is also unaffected by highly reflective road objects. BMW estimates that at a speed of 100 km/h, a driver would have an extra five seconds to respond to any danger.
High contrast black-and-white images are projected on the central control display unit for the driver to glance at. Images are nondescript and avoid details that may distract the driver.
Furthermore, BMW claims that placing the system in the instrument panel or within the Head-Up Display was considered, but rejected for “ergonomic reasons”. The manufacturer added that glancing at the central display unit is comparable to checking the driver’s interior mirror.
BMW Night Vision in the 5, 6 and 7 Series costs R20 000 and is only available with BMW’s professional navigation system, standard on the 6 and 7 Series.