Driving the future of safety
evo Singapore|August 2016

Rear-view mirrors and safety helmets have been the staples of driving and riding safety respectively. BMW reckons it can improve on this technology which has been in place for the past 100 years or so.

EXPERTS ESTIMATE THAT BY THE YEAR 2050, populations will grow to the point where more than 75 per cent of Europeans and 90 per cent ofAmericans will be city dwellers. as a result, urban roads will become increasingly congested and the probability of accidents will rise exponentially. to counter the increase in risk, BMW has taken a serious look into developing technologies that can help reduce accidents and enhance safety for the benefit of all road users. the BMW i8 mirrorless that was unveiled at the recent Consumer electronics show (Ces) in Las Vegas is one such result of the German car manufacturer’s efforts to improve safety. Conventional wing mirrors and rearview mirrors are replaced by three cameras – one on each door where you would expect the wrong mirror to be and the third is found on the upper edge of the rear windscreen. the images are digitally merged and displayed as a single image on a high-resolution screen fitted in place of the conventional rear-view mirror. this results in the elimination of blind spots as the cameras are capable of capturing a wider angle than a conventional mirror. interestingly, the bmW i8 mirrorless system doesn’t need to be adjusted for different drivers.

Measuring 300mm wide by 75mm high, the display is larger than a conventional rear-view mirror and gives a panoramic view of what’s behind. additionally, the system is capable of evaluating the images and responds accordingly to imminent hazards. if, for example, drivers signal with their indicator that they are about to overtake, although a faster car is coming up behind, a striking yellow warning icon immediately flashes on the display and this increases in size as the hazard intensifies. Or if a driver is about to turn right at traffic lights, the system recognises that the vehicle is turning a corner by the indicators flashing or the steering wheel being turned sharply and the image in the display automatically swivels further to the right and extends the area being displayed. if a motorcyclist approaches from the rear, a warning signal is illuminated in the display as well.

Besides eliminating blind spots, the bmW i8 mirrorless system offers several other advantages. For starters, the cameras replacing the exterior mirrors are smaller than the existing wing mirrors and permit a more open view to the front and side of the car. the display prevents the driver from being subjected to direct glare and the contrast can be optimally adjusted to suit the light conditions, even in the darkness of night. Overlaid trajectory lines also provide support for drivers when they are parking.

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