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BMW shines new light on safety

Light fantastic: BMW's new 7 Series features night vision technology that detects the body heat of a person or animal on the road ahead.

Pedestrians in the spotlight as BMW brings world-first light technology to 7 Series

27 Nov 2012

BMW prides itself on delivering world-first technologies on its flagship 7 Series, and this time around, as part of a facelift for the current model, the breakthrough feature is a spotlight to pick out pedestrians, cyclists or animals on the road at night.

Called Dynamic Light Spots, the system uses the current infrared night vision system to detect the body heat of the person/animal on the road, and not only displays an image on the car’s LCD screen or a warning on the head-up display but now also lays a beam of light across the tarmac in the direction of the intruder.

The system is said to work at a distance of up to 100 metres, with the bright spotlight gradually decreasing in intensity as the vehicle approaches, cutting out at 30 metres.

Lights used for this breakthrough technology are mounted on the front apron, in place of foglights. When not needed for spotlight duty, they act as daytime-running lights or low-beam headlights at night.

The new feature is standard on the upper-crust 740i and 750i models as part of the Night Vision package in the latest facelifted model that has just arrived in Australian showrooms, but is a $4700 option on other models in the range.

14 center imageAll BMW 7 Series also get new LED adaptive headlights that not only turn in the direction of travel but also have an advanced anti-dazzle feature for oncoming traffic or cars travelling ahead of the 7 Series.

The system uses four circular headlights and, when lights are detected ahead by a camera mounted in the interior mirror, the middle two headlamps switch off, effectively creating what BMW describes as a “tunnel” of darkness in the powerful high beam.

The dark spot is directed at the vehicle ahead, preventing that driver from being blinded by the BMW’s lights, while retaining strong lighting to either side.

The dark spot can even “follow” the vehicle in front, with the headlights turning in unison as the car is tracked by the camera.

Among other safety features on the 7 Series is a collision warning system with autonomous braking, a driver fatigue detection system and lane-departure warning.

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