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Automotive Intelligence News

News of October 23, 2002


 


Seeing More at the Wheel: BMW Presents Solutions for Extra Safety and Comfort

Technology-Know-How at the Chicago ITS World Congress and the Detroit Convergence Exhibition

Munich - BMW is presenting a whole series of trendsetting innovations and concepts at two of the most important future-oriented exhibitions in the USA. And all of these innovations and concepts are dedicated to the cause of extra safety, efficiency and comfort on the road.

Following the motto of "Seeing More at the Wheel", BMW is presenting pixel light technology and a miniature display in Ralf Schumacher's Formula 1 helmet. Another world-first innovation being presented by BMW is the laser projection system for rear seat entertainment.

These and other technologies are part of the ConnectedDrive concept linking and supplementing the telematics, online services and driver assistance systems so far acting as separate, individual modules. ConnectedDrive provides an excellent foundation for combining environmental care, enhanced driving conditions with reduced traffic congestion, greater safety and that proverbial sheer driving pleasure.

BMW technological know-how at the ITS World Congress in Chicago The annual ITS World Congress is one of the most important venues for exchanging concepts and ideas on the future of mobility. ITS stands for Intelligent Transport Systems and focuses both on the infrastructure and vehicle technology. This year's Congress is being held in Chicago from 14 - 17 October under the motto "Enriching our Lives". At the event, BMW is presenting - Laser projection - a new experience in rear seat entertainment

  • Pixel light - new headlight technology enhancing the function of the headlights to provide an all-round driver assistance system
  • Formula 1 helmet with heads-up display worn by Ralf Schumacher
  • Companion - an effective warning system using intelligent roadside markers
  • Driver assistance systems - the BMW X5 with the advanced features and amenities of ConnectedDrive
  • iDrive - a new control concept relieving the driver of routine chores
  • ConnectedDrive - the vision of uncongested motoring
  • Your home cinema in your car: laser projection

Rear seat passengers will enjoy a completely new world of the cinema when laser projection enters the automobile: Using mirrors and screen projectors, this high-tech system will provide a picture literally hovering in space in the eyes of the viewer. The picture is generated by three lasers in blue, green and red, with an electromechanically operated mirror merging these light beams to provide a brilliant scenario of colour. With the exception of the projection mirror inside the car, all the technology required is housed in the roof lining, out of sight of the passengers. With this technology pictures can be transmitted in various scales to various points in the passengers' line of vision.

Revolutionary: pixel light

Pixel headlights ensure entirely new, absolutely precise light distribution exactly where light is required. This new headlight technology is based on the DMD (Digital Micromirror Device) principle with microscopically small, controlled mirrors taking over the function of the conventional headlight reflector. This provides entirely new options such as anti-dazzle permanent high-beam operation cancelling out the light exactly around the face of a motorist coming the other way. A further advantage is the very clear illumination of markings on and along the road as well as obstacles in the way of the vehicle.

BMW's development specialists are also working on technologies for fading in information signals such as lights in the form of turning arrows or navigation instructions giving the driver recommendations for the best route without requiring him to take his eyes off the traffic. Pixel light also ensures even better, dynamic headlight range control and it might even be possible to choose individual settings such as specific illumination in bends, in town, on country roads, on the motorway and in bad weather.

Making its world debut in Formula 1: Ralf Schumacher's helmet with heads-up display

Introducing the Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD), BMW is setting new standards in Formula 1 driving safety: Soon Ralf Schumacher will become the first racing driver in the world to benefit from a heads-up display in his helmet, allowing him to process visual information while concentrating in full on the task of driving his car. A module integrated in the helmet enables the engineers and race managers in the pits to give the driver information and visual messages over the radio. The miniature head-up display projects the "transparent" picture required through the driver's helmet visor on the same level as the front end of the car.

The ultimate vision of ConnectedDrive: congestion-free motoring

Presenting Companion, BMW has a warning system on display in Detroit currently being introduced on an increasing number of motorways throughout Europe. Incorporating roadside markers flashing on and off, this warning and information system makes motorists aware of dangerous situations and thus helps to avoid accidents.

A specially equipped X5 serves as a practical example and a spearhead in technology implementing the ConnectedDrive concept. With its innovative sensor and communication systems, this special vehicle is consistently informed of the course of the road, traffic conditions and the surroundings. All details relevant while driving are presented to the driver as clear, intuitive information in this "research laboratory on wheels".

iDrive, introduced for the first time in the new BMW 7 Series, is a genuine milestone in ergonomics. The philosophy behind iDrive is to consistently subdivide the cockpit into driving and comfort functions, making control processes easier and more straightforward. Particularly the arrangement of elementary driving functions around the steering wheel relieves the driver of his usual burden and enhances driving safety in the process. And iDrive naturally serves to reduce, simplify and re-arrange the usual functions and controls.

Ultimately all of these concepts serve one specific objective: to implement the vision of uncongested motoring, one of the underlying concepts of ConnectedDrive. Precisely this is why the BMW Group, through ConnectedDrive, networks the relevant telematics, online and driver assistance systems, thus enhancing both safety and efficiency on the road. For ultimately more information, fewer accidents and less traffic obstruction means less congestion on the road.

World debut: BMW introducing Bluetooth technology for the mobile telephone in the car

Starting in September 2002, BMW is becoming the first carmaker to offer universal integration of the mobile phone in the car with the current 3 Series, 5 Series and X5 in Europe. Suitably equipped mobile phones, regardless of the manufacturer, are therefore able to communicate with the vehicle's infrastructure via Bluetooth. In the process the user - either the driver or passenger - is able to call up various functions on his mobile phone such as the telephone directory through the car's display and control system and can make phone calls with the on-board hands-free function. Indeed, this is even possible when the user has his mobile phone in his briefcase in the luggage compartment. In the interest of enhanced safety, BMW also offers an easily exchangeable docking station for various types of mobile phones connecting the telephone additionally to the outside aerial and power supply.

Trend setting communication networks: MOST and FlexRay

The information and communication system in the new BMW 7 Series is networked as another world-first achievement with the MOST light wave conductor bus. Units such as the navigation system, voice control, the radio or the new central control system are therefore able to communicate via digital light signals going through optic fibres. This allows highly efficient, digitalised transmission not only of control signals, but also of music and pictures. In the years to come this technology will be introduced step-by-step in all BMWs and other cars.

Developing FlexRay, BMW is also seeking to introduce a common standard applied hopefully throughout the entire automotive industry. This communication system being defined by a number of carmakers and suppliers is intended to clearly determine the configuration of future on-board networks. Through its structure and configuration it is able to offer even the most demanding x-by-wire functions incorporated, say, in electric steering or an electrical brake system.

(Oct 16, 2002)

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