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Optional for BMW 5, 6 and 7 Series from autumn
High-Beam Assist: let it take care
of your headlights changes at night

BMW High-Beam Assist

The sensor-controlled automation of High-Beam Assist relieves the driver of the need to activate and deactivate the high beam.

PR, 21 July 2005.

Unfortunately, the high beam is very rarely used in practice, even though such use would be more frequently possible and even desirable. A scientific study in the US on behalf of the US Ministry of Transport showed that the high beam is only used in about 25 per cent of cases in which its use would be possible. As with windscreen wipers, the constant switching on and off of the high beam is an irritating and repetitive activity. So it was a logical step to exploit the potential of the high beam using intelligent technology in order to provide relief for the driver.

BMW High-Beam Assist

The sensor: a camera attached to the rear view mirror casing.

Other studies have shown that when drivers do switch on the high beam, they often fail to deactivate it in time, thus unnecessarily dazzling other road users. Such situations can also be avoided by means of intelligent technology.

High-Beam Assist makes a significant contribution to using the high beam more frequently and correctly. At the same time it provides relief for the driver and thus increases comfort.

All in all, High-Beam Assist provides a considerable safety bonus, by optimising the use of the high beam precisely for those driving situations in which the high beam is permitted and desirable. This increases the duration of high beam activation. It also ensures that the high beam is deactivated in time, so as not to dazzle other road users.

For the driver, High-Beam Assist means a tangible increase in comfort: the sensor-controlled automation of High-Beam Assist relieves him almost completely of the need to activate and deactivate the high beam.

Function - A sensor at the front of the rear mirror controls the automatic activation and deactivation of the high beam. High-Beam Assist ensures that the high beam is switched on whenever the surrounding traffic allows and requires it. The sensor consists of a camera which is attached to the rear view mirror casing. The image is fed into an electronic evaluation system.

BMW High-Beam Assist telltale

Control lamp indicates High-Beam Assist activation.

The high beam is automatically deactivated in the following situations:

•  In the case of oncoming traffic (including motorcycles). Here the system recognises the high or low beam of vehicles.

•  In the case of vehicles driving ahead. The red rear lights of vehicles are recognised.

•  In the case of sufficient street lighting, i.e. in built-up areas.

•  At low speeds, when driving with the high beam does not provide any increase in safety.

The system also analyses the brightness and light colour of the light source so as to imitate human use of the high beam as closely as possible. It is designed so that road users within a range of up to around 1,000 m are detected.

No additional switches - High-Beam Assist does not require additional switches or operating elements. It is activated by means of the light control unit by putting the rotational knob on automatic (same position as for the activation of the light sensor for automatic control of the low beam). In addition, the direction indicator lever must be pushed towards high beam, if currently on low beam. A control lamp in the instrument panel indicates that High-Beam Assist is activated.

BMW High-Beam Assist button

High-Beam Assist is activated from the light control rotational knob.

Manual intervention - High-Beam Assist is a driver assistance system, which – like BMW Night Vision – does not release the driver from his responsibility but provides him with support. Thus High-Beam Assist can be manually overridden at any time with the usual function “Permanent low beam” or “Permanent high beam. The headlamp flasher can be used normally at all times too.

High-Beam Assist cannot replace any personal decision regarding the use of the high beam. Nor can there be any guarantee that all situations will be correctly judged by the system. Unfavourable weather conditions such as thick fog can limit the function of High-Beam Assist. Other road users with poor lighting – such as pedestrian, cyclists, riders etc. cannot be reliably detected by the system. In poorly lit towns, for example, the high beam should be manually deactivated.

BMW is the first premium manufacturer in Europe to offer High-Beam Assist from September 2005.

It will be available in the BMW 5 Series, 6 Series and 7 Series as a special equipment item.

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