Good vibrations for new BMW drivers

BMW releases details of the Lane Departure Warning system on its 2008 5 series.

The 2008 BMW 5-series

Drivers of the new BMW 5 series will have the option of an extra tech safety device to ensure that they make it to the boardroom meeting in one piece. The 2008 5 series, which will make its official debut at this week's Geneva auto show, will come with the intelligent Lane Departure Warning system (LDW), which will warn drivers if they are about to cross over a lane-dividing line without using their turn signal.

Rather than sounding a chime or flashing a light on the dashboard (a la the system in the 2007 Infiniti M35 Sport ), the BMW system will actually reproduce the physical sensation of driving over a rumble strip by generating tactile (or "haptic") feedback in the steering wheel--in a similar way to that in video-game steering wheels.

The LDW system, which is a collaboration between BMW, Siemens VDO, and Mobileye, makes use of range-finding CMOS cameras mated to electronic control units with advanced algorithm technology, in order to detect when the vehicle is about to drift across a lane marking. Unlike the Infiniti system, the BMW Lane Departure Warning system is designed to preempt--rather than record--lane transgression, in order to alert drivers before it's too late.

 

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