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BMW smart headlights follow the road ahead


June 4, 2004

BMW's Adaptive Headlights system will be available for the first time in Australia as an option on the soon to be released new BMW 5 Series and the recently face-lifted 3 Series Coupe and Convertible. The optional active headlight system uses intelligent technology to enable a pair of Bi-Xenon headlights to follow the shape of the road through an arc of 15 degrees, providing drivers with up to 90 percent more visibility.

The system is controlled by data provided by steering angle and yaw rate input sensors as well as vehicle speed and GPS-fed road data.

Designed to enhance night-time safety and give drivers more time to act or react if approaching road hazards, the Adaptive Headlight System (AHS) is able to 'predict' the arrival of the vehicle at a corner or bend and can adjust the pattern of illumination via the Bi-Xenon lamps, shining into the corner along the driver's intended path, rather than continuing to shine straight ahead.

Bi-Xenon headlamps themselves extend the pool of illumination a further 200 metres in front of the vehicle compared with conventional high-beam globes.

The active element of the AHS ensures that the headlights don't needlessly illuminate the side of the road and additional safety features are included such as dynamic headlight range control which automatically adjusts the light spread to avoid dazzling on coming traffic.

On wet roads for example, the angle of incidence is controlled so that on-coming drivers are not blinded by light reflecting off the surface.

The system is also smart enough to be able to differentiate between travelling through built-up areas - during which period the light spread is wider to help the driver identify pedestrians, merging traffic, etc - and inter-urban areas where road illumination typically is limited.

When out of town the AHS provides a more focussed, narrower yet longer throw of light to give the driver as much up-front illumination as possible and at night the system is designed to make driving less tiring.

The option price for the 3 Series Coupe and Convertible, already specified with Bi-Xenon headlights and headlamp power wash, has been confirmed at a premium of AUS$860. Option pricing for the new 5 Series will be released closer to launch - check www.Gizmo.com.au soon for further details.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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