BMW Brake Force Display


June 4, 2004

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BMW will incorporate a new Brake Force Display on most models from May 2004 - Brake Force Display is a simple yet effective way of communicating to following traffic that the BMW in front is stopping quickly, providing extra advance warning of a potential road hazard ahead.

This should help lessen the need for harsh emergency braking by following drivers who now have extra reaction time. Brake Force Display warning has been fitted to BMW vehicles sold in the United States for some time, and has just gained approval by regulatory bodies in Europe and Australia.

Brake Force Display works by increasing the intensity of the brake lights in the rear lamp clusters by expanding the number of illuminated LEDs under heavy braking.

The extra lighting is triggered after the anti-lock brake sensors detect a rate of deceleration in excess of 5 m/second. As an example of the force of the braking, at 5 m/second, a briefcase placed on a car seat would accelerate off the seat onto the floor.

The system reacts within a few tenths of a second to increase the intensity of the stoplight illumination, projecting a highly visible warning beacon to following traffic.

Only deceleration forces trigger Brake Force Display, not simply pedal pressure, in order to avoid unnecessary illumination.

BMW hopes the adoption of Brake Force Display will lead to a reduction in avoidable rear-end. BMW 5 Series, X3 and 6 Series Coupe and Convertible will be fitted with Brake Force Display technology from March production, whilst the 3 Series, X5 and Z4 Roadster will include the feature from April production.

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, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

when you apply your car brakes your brake light go on, but if you are in a traffic que and you take your foot of the brake peddle your brake light go off. This put you in a vunerable possition to traffic approching from behind, that may not notice you are stationary until it is to late. I have tried to ansure this question, instead of this innadaquate system, When you apply the foot brake the brake light stays on until you put your foot on the gas or accelerator. My previouse version was to link the brake light with the hand brake, but this new version makes it much more automatic. and thus even safer. I have also added a tilt switch, that when you are driving down a radiat, your brake light doesnt stay on when you are not useing your accelerator.

I think my system is much more appropriate in avoiding unnessassary shunting from the rear and saving many people from serious whipplash.

Malcolm Jacks. e-mail

Malcolm Jacks
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