Update: Though much of the information was believed to be accurate at the original time it was written some information was not. The manufacturer of the BMW system is Autoliv, not Siemens VDO as we were originally led to believe by sources. The night vision did not make it to the HUD except for the pedestrian warning alert. What the following information does show is what the future can hold and what to expect on the horizon.
Since we originally gave you much of the details about the soon to be released 7things have been fairly quiet in the form of rumors. We originally discussed the possibility of the famous 7 series night vision being moved into the Heads Up Display. Our sources still indicate this is still a possibility and that it may be a product from
Siemens VDO. (It is Autoliv)
Though this is not the view of 7 with this technology active it shows what we can expect (according to sources).
The system could consist of a long range infrared camera behind behind the grill allowing for night vision of up to 1500 feet down the dark road. Using this technology adapted from military as well as search and rescue will allow the warm objects to show up more vividly on the screen than the cold inanimate objects allowing the driver to see and react accordingly. The presentation in the head-up display has the advantage that the improved night vision is in the driver ‘s direct field of vision. Within the HUD makes more sense for safety sake, looking to the side (iDrive screen) was always tedious and took the driver ‘s eyes off of the road.
Siemens VDO Autoliv has also been successful in developing a pedestrian marking system used in conjunction with this night vision system. Essentially a computer analyzes the input from the infrared camera against preprogrammed temperature differences and formations, when the computer detects what could be a pedestrian it will further highlight and alert the driver audibly and visually. This will aid in detecting people walking on the sides of roads or a child wandering into the street which may have otherwise resulted in a catastrophe.
Will this just be another expensive option that has an initial WOW factor and then fades is left to be seen, but it is a definite step in the right direction for night time safety.
There is also a story published in German here which discusses the BMW system, though it is shown in a past model with the past generation of iDrive so it is obviously not the system in its entirety.
Photo Siemens VDO