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http://www.worldcarfans.com/news.cf...bmw-latest-driver-assistance-r-d-developments

Initially, I was a little bit put off by these, but now I think they'll be really cool.

Active cruise control with stop and go - drives the car for you in traffic jams, and gives you an audiovisual alert if it thinks you're going to slam into the car in front of you. It will be annoying if they calibrate this badly, but if they manage to get it to activate only when you're actually distracted by something and haven't noticed the car in front of you has slowed down, it will be useful.

Lane departure warning - lets you know when you've drifted out of your lane. Again, if they calibrate it right, it will be useful. It sounds like they're taking all the proper factors into account (the article says the system will be intelligent enough to know when the lanes are screwy because of construction, and deactivate itself rather than give you false warnings), so I have high hopes.

They say that the system can be activated and deactivated by the driver at will.

Roadpreview - uses the navigation system to tell you the properties of the next corner (direction, radius, etc.), and takes your car's speed into account. It also seems like it tells you where, among the upcoming stretches of road, you have enough space to pass the car in front of you. It has a camera to read speed limit signs, and maintains a display of the current limit in the instrument cluster.

Network camera system - 360 degree camera coverage of the exterior of the car (using wide-angle camera in the mirrors), for parking and other low-speed maneuvers. They also mention two cameras in the very front of the car, looking left and right from the bumper, the output of which can be displayed split-screen in the iDrive screen for pulling out of blind driveways, where you can't see the road well from the cockpit.

Remote park assist - essentially a remote control for the car, that lets you get out of the car before it enters your garage, and then let it guide itself in. The idea is that you can park it in tight spaces, while not having to contort yourself to get in and out because you can barely open the door. This will be especially useful for the coupes.

Of course, it also reverses out of the garage automatically.

Car2x - lots of stuff here. Essentially, they're talking about a radio system where BMWs (and presumably other cars) can share information on traffic conditions with each other.

An example they give is cars telling each other about the status of traffic lights (how long they've been green, how long they've been red, how long the yellows are, etc.), which would allow for a display in the dashboard warning drivers that a light is about to turn yellow, or that they're not going fast enough to make it through a yellow light and should hit the brakes, or whatever.

They also talk about a warning system that alerts the driver when they're approaching a red light or stop sign, and don't seem to be applying the brakes. I was pleased to read this paragraph:
Laboratory tests have clearly shown that a warning in good time is sufficient to avoid critical situations - the researchers and development engineers do not believe that the assistance system should automatically apply the brakes in such a situation, but rather believe in keeping the driver fully in control of his vehicle. In other words, the principle of driver responsibility is still maintained even in the case of such a sophisticated system.
All in all, I think these are all awesome technologies that will greatly improve the safety of BMWs in the future. No matter how a good driver you are (or think you are), there will always be moments when you're distracted, and these systems may be what saves you from an otherwise unavoidable accident. Just a few months ago I completely blew through a stop sign because I didn't expect it to be there (I don't drive on the road that often, and they had apparently just added it). Luckily there was no one else at the intersection.

I trust that BMW will find a way to implement these unobtrusively, so that they truly only activate when an accident is imminent, not just when you're driving aggressively. If anyone can do it, it will be them.

The convenience features (auto-parking in tight garages, auto-driving in traffic jams) sound good as well, although I suspect us manual transmission owners won't benefit. :)
 

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On paper these things are all great...but

1) The more stuff they add the heavier the car gets thus throwing out any efficiency savings they may have made. Someday we will need 48v batteries just to run the electronics

2) The more electronic stuff the more complicated the car and the more stuff to break which means higher maintenance bills

3) The more un-necessary electronics, the more they will use it to justify a higher price

I believe that simple is better sometimes...but all this R&D stuff is cool anyway
 
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