Driving at night is now much safer. BMW Night Vision with pedestrian detection, an innovation from BMW ConnectedDrive, can see in the dark and warns the driver of any approaching danger that is not picked up by the headlights.
Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection
An automotive night vision system is a system to increase a vehicle driver’s perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather beyond the reach of the vehicle’s headlights. They are currently offered as optional equipment on certain premium vehicles.
Active systems use an infrared light source built into the car to illuminate the road ahead with light that is invisible to humans. There are two kinds of active systems: gated and non-gated. The gated system uses a pulsed light source and a synchronized camera that enable long ranges (250m) and high performance in rain and snow.
- Pros: higher resolution image, superior picture of inanimate objects, works better in warmer conditions, smaller sensor can be mounted to rearview mirror.
- Cons: does not work as well in fog or rain, lower contrast for animals, shorter range of 150-200 meters or 500-650 feet
In late-2005, Mercedes-Benz introduced their Night View Assist system on the redesigned S-class. It was the first system to use the instrument cluster’s LCD as a display. In 2009, Mercedes added a pedestrian detection function calling the revised system Night View Assist Plus and offered it on the redesigned E-class and refreshed S-class, however, the E-class uses the navigation screen’s display. For model year 2014, S-class with Night Vision Assist Plus will also have animal detection. To give further warning, the Nigh View Assist PLUS system is coupled to the car’s spotlight function which is able to focus a beam of light onto the pedestrian or animal while flashing them repeatedly. Night Vision Assist is no longer available for the new E-class.
- Pros: greater range of about 300 meters or 1,000 feet, higher contrast for living objects
- Cons: grainy, lower resolution image, works poorly in warmer weather conditions, larger sensor
In fall 2005, BMW introduced BMW Night Vision on the 7-series. This system processes far infrared radiation, which minimizes non-essential information placing a greater emphasis on pedestrians and animals, allows for a range of 300 meters or nearly 1,000 feet, and avoids “dazzle” from headlights, road lights and similar intense light sources. In the fall of 2008, on the redesigned 7-series, BMW added a pedestrian detection system which flashes a caution symbol on the navigation/information screen and head-up-display when it detects pedestrians.
For model year 2013, BMW Night Vision added animal detection with Dynamic Light Spot feature for the 7-series. As soon as the remote infrared detects pedestrians or larger animals on course for collision in the dark, the system directs two separately controlled Dynamic Light Spots at them without creating an unpleasant glare. In the event of an acute risk, an acoustic warning signal is also sounded and the brakes are set to maximum standby. For the model year 2014, BMW 5-series will also have these new features.