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Next Generation Night Vision Detects Pedestrians

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AUTO CENTRAL – August 18, 2008: Pedestrian safety will be further improved in Australia when the new BMW 7 Series arrives next year.

BMW is the first car maker in the world to introduce a Night Vision system which can also detect pedestrians on or near the road and warn drivers.

“According to official statistics, 43 per cent of fatal Australian accidents occur at night, even though most driving occurs during the day,” says Guenther Seemann, BMW Group Australia Managing Director.

“BMW’s new generation Night Vision system will further help avoid accidents at night,” he said.

The Night Vision system consists of a thermal imagining camera which provides a moving video image. This enables the driver to recognise people, animals and other objects, beyond the reach of headlights, in a high-resolution presentation in the central Control Display.

For the first time however, the system can detect individual people.

A control unit analyses video data and uses intelligent algorithms to search specifically for pedestrians then highlights the image in a yellow colour in the video image.

If the system determines a person ahead of the vehicle is at risk, the driver will receive an additional warning.

To minimise the number of warnings and to focus on pedestrians really in danger, the Night Vision control unit conducts a complex analysis of each situation, restricting its warnings to pedestrians in a warning corridor determined as a function of speed, the steering angle, and the yaw rate of the car.

Should the system, for example, recognise a person at the side of the road, moving towards the road or already standing on the road surface, the driver is warned in good time by means of a symbol in the Control Display.

The same information is also presented on the windscreen right in front of the driver’s eyes via the Head-Up Display.

In Australia, the BMW 7 Series was the first car from the Bavarian luxury maker available with Night Vision in 2006.

Following its debut in BMW’s flagship, Night Vision was offered in the 5 Series Sedan, 5 Series Touring, 6 Series Coupé and 6 Series Convertible, opening up this driver assistance system to a larger group of Australian drivers.