Technology keeps racing forward in the car industry. One of the biggest areas of interest in this field is automated driving features.
Tesla has been pushing toward perfecting its self-driving car technology, and various service companies including Domino’s have brought some of these robocars into their delivery fleet. Other car manufacturers have introduced various automated features in their vehicles to help improve drivers’ visibility on the roads, give advanced warnings of road obstacles and assist with parallel parking.
Now, BMW is pushing technology further by introducing its Active Lane Change Assistant in its new sedan.
The BMW 5 Series Sedan moves beyond the well-known feature where cars can warn if a car is in a driver’s blind spot with a beep. Its Active Lane Change Assistant, called a world-first by the car manufacturer, monitors road traffic and makes lane-change recommendations based on its observations. The car makes a recommendation to the driver, who can confirm the lane change by looking in the exterior mirror. From there, the Active Lane Change Assistant takes over the steering automatically.
“This comfort feature now achieves a new level of interaction between the driver and the vehicle,” BMW shared in its press release about the new sedan and its features.
It sounds like science fiction, but, in reality, the feature works thanks to camera technology.
The system depends on a camera behind the steering wheel to detect eye movement, and determines where the driver is looking.
Only GM has a similar technology in its SuperCruise system, according to Entrepreneur. However, that lane change capability can only be confirmed when the driver manually engages the turn signal.
The new feature does have its skeptics, though. MotorTrend author Alex Kierstein expressed concern over potential safety risks.
“We’d be lying if we weren’t slightly concerned about inadvertent confirmation,” Kierstien wrote in a preview of the technology for MotorTrend, adding that it’s not hard to move your hand to the turn signal, “and there’s a lot less potential for the car to misinterpret the action.”
We’ll likely find out when the 2024 BMW 5 Series rolls into the market and out onto roads in October 2023.