July 15, 2005

BMW Brings Night Vision to Cars!!!

This is cool:

BMW claims that its new 7 Series is the first production car to feature a far infra-red night vision system, used in conjunction with the new high-beam "assist" function to make night driving safer. A thermal imaging camera covers a distance of up to 300m in front of the vehicle to create an image of objects out of range of the headlights. The more brilliantly the object the on the central monitor is displayed, the greater the warmth registered by the camera.Pedestrians and animals would thus be the brightest areas of the image because of their high infra-red heat signature; they're also the most important things to concentrate on when driving responsibly.BMW engineers have opted for the innovative far infra-red (FIR) technology because studies show it is more effective than near infra-red (NIR) for detecting people, animals and objects at night.The image section also follows the road (panning) and distant objects can be enlarged (zoom). The system is activated simply by a switch next to the light switch and is planned to be available on the 7 Series worldwide in the last quarter of 2005.

Here is a cool picture of the night vision in use:

Too bad I cannot afford a new 7 Series. Hell, not many people can as they tend to list at around $70,000. The good news is that the auto industry tends to make such things standard or at least less expensive options on lower priced cars as time goes by.
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