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BMW Shows Their Lateral Collision Avoidence System

Posted in BMW, Car Tech, Safety by Kurt Ernst | January 26th, 2011 | 2 Responses |

It’s happened to all of us: a driver to our right or left isn’t paying attention, and begins to drift into our lane. More often than not, the driver is distracted by cell phone, make up, food or blood alcohol content, and most times we’re able to hit the horn or brakes to avoid a collision. That assumes we’re paying attention, but what if we’re the one wandering from our lane? BMW’s latest innovation, the Lateral Collision Avoidance System, is designed to give drivers both a visual warning and to initialize corrective action, which may help prevent side to side collisions in the future.

Unlike blind-spot monitoring systems, which provide visual warning to if another vehicle is in a side mirror’s blind spot, the BMW system provides remedial action to avoid a collision. The BMW driver can override any corrections made by the Lateral Collision Avoidance System, which should help drivers avoid putting their cars into a guardrail or Jersey barrier. While I like the idea of an encroachment warning, I’m not sold on the thought of my car taking corrective action for me. When I drive a car with lane departure correction, it’s usually the first feature that I disable.

There’s no word on when (or if) BMW will put the Lateral Collision Avoidance System into production, as it’s currently part of their “future lab” research to develop safer cars.

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2 Responses

  1. After watching the video, one scenario that I could imagine happening is that if you are already driving pretty closely to a wall or a rail and then if another car gets close to you and the car corrects itself, it could possibly steer you into the wall or into the rail. It can help prevent accidents but it can cause one too.

  2. Kurt Ernst says:

    That’s why such a system is more likely to be deployed in the EU than in the US. In the EU, car makers assume drivers will be paying attention; in the U.S., litigation now requires car makers to assume drivers WON’T be paying attention.

    The correction is subtle, just as it is with existing lane departure correction systems (used by Infiniti, for example). The driver still has ultimate control, but it’s important that he’s paying attention.