BMW uses frickin’ lasers for good, Dr. Evil weeps

May 17, 2011
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Let's face it; most drivers are oblivious to what is going on around them. They pull out in front of other cars, don't pay attention to pedestrians or motorcycles, and do other generally dumb and avoidable things simply from inattention. Sadly, when it comes to an inattentive driver and a pedestrian or motorcyclist, the pedestrian or motorcyclist often has little chance in an accident. BMW has announced a new system that is automatically activated in the high-end BMW 5 series cars as soon as the sensors in the vehicle detects a left turn.

The system is called left turn assistant and it has two levels of functionality. The left turn assistant uses the navigation system in the car to fix the vehicles location within a meter at intersections. It also uses a mono camera to register the turn off lane markings and lane borders on the road. The system then uses three laser scanners in the front of the car to map the area up to 100 meters in front of the vehicle.

The laser scanners can pick up cars, trucks, and motorcycles. If the sensors detect a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction and the car continues to move the left turn assistant activates automatic braking input in low speed range up to 10km/h to prevent a collision. While the brakes are applied, the system also sounds an audible warning and a visual warning inside the car. As soon as the driver hits the brakes themselves, the brake input triggered by the system is ended.


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