Most of the new features will center around “intelligent” technology that enable BMW’s cars to think for themselves, automatically reacting to local road conditions and consequently improving safety and fuel economy.
In terms of safety, BMW’s new cars will feature laser-based lateral collision avoidance systems, traffic light communication systems to detect oncoming cars from multiple directions, and an advanced pedestrian detection system dubbed “AMULETT”. This latter feature requires pedestrians, typically small children, to wear a transponder, which BMW’s cars are designed to avoid.
Comfort features include more advanced parking assistants including one that allows the driver to remotely park their car using just the key fob, new smart keys that owners will be able to charge up with electronic money and use on public transport, a voice-operated email service, and automatic news and traffic updates.
Finally, there will be a raft of technologies to help curb fuel consumption. These include the new ILENA intelligent sat-nav system, which can direct drivers using three different routes: standard, eco or quick, a new ‘sail’ mode for automatic gearboxes that disconnects the engine when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal, thermoelectric generators that draw energy wasted in exhaust heat, and even a public transport information system that can advise the driver whether it is quicker to actually drive or use a bus or train for the particular journey.
Of course, not all of these technologies will be released in the immediate future but we can expect some variations of them appear in BMW’s upcoming models, with the next-generation 2013 BMW 3-Series likely to be one of the early adopters.