Innovation 11.04.2023 5 Min.
Always at the highest level.

Nowadays, vehicles without Driver Assistance Systems that enable Automated Driving and Parking are simply unimaginable. The BMW Group is driving these innovations forward for even more comfort and safety.

In recent years, they have made all our lives easier, more comfortable and safer: Driver Assistance Systems (DAS) are designed to provide support on long stretches of highway, in traffic jams and at traffic lights. They detect speed limits, distance to other vehicles and lane markings. Particularly sophisticated systems can brake and accelerate without human intervention, they take over the wheel or manoeuvre independently into parking spaces. The BMW Group is a pioneer of automated driving and parking and has an enormous passion and thirst for knowledge to push digital innovations forward to develop the best possible and most innovative systems for its customers.

However, Automated Driving is not the same as Autonomous Driving. These terms are frequently confused. Autonomous Driving is when no one is at the wheel; the vehicle takes over all driving and parking functions independently. The vehicle is then completely guided by the system and performs all the necessary tasks automatically. The autonomous vehicle must be able to handle even complex situations – such as crossing an intersection, driving through a traffic circle or behaving correctly at a crosswalk.

The current BMW iX, BMW X1 and the new BMW 7 Series are just a few examples, among others, of how far Automated Driving technologies have already advanced. Depending on the equipment, these vehicles feature the most advanced driving assistance systems from the BMW Group. They support and relieve the driver in a variety of situations. They can do this by processing data from camera images and from sensors. In this way, potential dangers during braking or steering interventions, among others, can be prevented. Advanced sensor technology, state-of-the-art software applications and intelligent vehicle control make it possible to execute all driving and parking functions.

Driving Assistant Professional adapts to the live traffic situation.

The Driving Assistant Professional is the beating heart of the BMW driving assistance systems. Optional equipment combines Active Cruise Control with Steering and Lane Guidance Assist. Starting the system is easy: the driver presses the corresponding button on the steering wheel, then the display signals that the function is activated. In combination with Speed Limit Assist, traffic light detection (subject to market), route guidance and Active Navigation Guidance, the system adapts both speed and steering movements precisely to the prevailing traffic conditions. The vehicle independently keeps the ideal distance to vehicles ahead, adheres to speed limits, enforces overtaking bans and recognises signals from traffic lights. Active Cruise Control with traffic light recognition, for example, works in this way: if a traffic light on the route changes from yellow to red, the BMW brakes automatically and comes to a stop. This relieves a huge burden, especially in the city.

The latest generation of the Driving Assistant Professional also includes an Emergency Stop Assistant. The standard front collision warning also detects oncoming traffic when turning left and pedestrians or cyclists when turning right. Lane Departure Warning actively steers the vehicle back to the centre of the lane when leaving it and has been enhanced with Rear Collision Warning and Cross Traffic Alert including braking function. All DAS functions can also be controlled with naturally spoken voice commands. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant recognizes the instruction and executes the command.

The current state-of-the-art in driver assistance systems can be experienced in North America. The BMW Group offers the Highway Assistant with Automatic Lane Assist in that market. This means the person can completely take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals. They still have to keep their eyes on the road though. A camera for alertness monitors this. As long as this is the case, the BMW i7 automatically drives along the road. It maintains its speed (up to 130 km/h) and distance to the vehicle in front. And if the function allows it, the vehicle changes lanes independently after tapping the indicator lever.

Easy parking: Performing complex maneuvers.

A software upgrade can enable Remote Control Parking via the My BMW App for almost all vehicles with iDrive 7 and iDrive 8. The function is primarily intended to facilitate entering and leaving parking spaces in particularly narrow gaps or even garages. Condition: the person must be within six metres of their vehicle with their smartphone.

A closely related function to Remote Control Parking is the retrieval and triggering of up to a maximum of ten manoeuvres previously recorded in the vehicle, which it executes in Maneuver Assistant. The vehicle takes over all operations – from steering to changing gears. The driver can relax and take their hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals while keeping a watchful look on the road.

Automated Valet Parking: leave the vehicle and let it park itself.

From 2025, the BMW Group driver assistance systems will offer fully automated support when parking and exiting parking spaces with the Neue Klasse vehicles. In January this year, the BMW Group entered into a strategic partnership with Valeo, one of the world’s largest and leading suppliers to the automotive industry. The cooperation aims to develop fully automated parking functions up to Level 4. With Automated Valet Parking (AVP), the driver leaves the vehicle at an exit zone. The vehicle then independently searches for a parking space and manoeuvres itself into the parking space. When the driver returns, the vehicle automatically drives itself back to the place it was left where it can be taken over again by the human. In the meantime, services such as fully automated charging or washing can be provided.

Many things inside the vehicle are also becoming easier, safer and more comfortable. The Augmented View function will add another sophisticated system to BMW Group vehicles, enabling precise orientation in traffic. Live Cockpit Professional shows a live video stream from the driver’s perspective – supplemented by relevant additional information.

Driver assistance systems from the BMW Group already offer significantly improved comfort and safety, making driving even more of a special experience. Even when the human being is not controlling the wheel themselves. The company will drive these innovations forward.

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