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New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future

The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.

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It is made possible by a Driving Assist package that incorporates the following, as supplied by BMW:

  • A camera-based systems Lane Departure Warning and approach control and person warning with light city braking function.
  • The Lane Departure Warning detects lane markings and alerts the driver to an unintentional lane change at speeds above approx. 70 km/h by means of vibrations in the steering wheel. The warning is not activated if the lane change is deliberate, that is, when the indicator has been activated.
  • Whereas the Approach control warning with light city braking function detects vehicles, the Person warning with light city braking function reacts to pedestrians. If a vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, the new BMW 3 Series responds immediately when the Approach control warning is activated.
  • The system operates in steps. A warning symbol is first displayed, then the symbol begins flashing and an acoustic warning is emitted, and finally, the brakes are lightly applied (when travelling at speeds under 60 km/h).
  • The warning operates at speeds between 10 and 60 km/h and emits a single-level warning in the event of acute danger. If the system warns of a potential collision, the brakes are simultaneously preconditioned for a faster response. In the event of an emergency, the system applies the brakes. This function can be limited by darkness and fog.
  • Active cruise control with Stop&Go function, including radar-based Approach control warning with full deceleration function and braking, offers the option of greater comfort and safety in traffic jams. The system maintains a speed preselected by the driver, as well as the distance to the driver ahead. The vehicle takes over accelerating and braking and keeps the predetermined distance to the car ahead even in slow-moving traffic and down to a stand-still in traffic jams.
  • If the car approaches the vehicle ahead of it, or if another vehicle enters the lane, the system precisely adjusts the speed to take the other vehicle into account. It can be activated at speeds of up to 210 km/h.
  • The Stop&Go function not only automatically regulates speed down to a standstill, but it also automatically accelerates back up to the desired speed within a limited time frame as soon as traffic flow allows.
  • If a vehicle ahead brakes suddenly, the BMW responds immediately when the Approach control warning is activated. The system operates in phases. A warning symbol is first displayed, then the symbol begins to flash and an acoustic warning is sounded, and finally, the brakes are applied sharply.
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