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.
sensor: a camera attached to the rear view
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
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.
lamp indicates High-Beam Assist
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
• 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
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
Assist is activated from
the light control rotational
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
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.