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Prototype BMW car door detects hazards

A new door technology being developed by BMW in Germany uses ultrasonic sensors to detect oncoming hazards to stop the door from being opened, and hopefully prevent accidents


If you've ever had a tired cyclist -- or worse, a tired driver -- career into your car door as you open it, you'll appreciate a new prototype being developed in Germany. It's a new technology that allows doors to resist being opened when they sense an oncoming hazard.

BMW's Michael Graf and a team at the Technical University of Munich are pioneering the project, which uses ultrasonic sensors to detect hazards approaching a vehicle. When they see an oncoming cyclist, or van, or bears, a bar running through the car door prevents it from being opened.

So far, the results of tests have been positive, reports New Scientist, and the technology is apparently at the stage where it could be rolled out in vehicles within 12 months. Co-developer BMW, however, has not decided whether its future cars will use the system. Perhaps instead it will be licensed to other manufacturers.

Whatever the eventuality, we look forward to seeing the technology in vehicles soon. Or maybe we could just arrest cyclists who ignore red lights. No, really.

In the future, similar technology might be able to detect when fingers are within chopping range, we'd hope. The trapping of fingers in doors and car boots, while traditionally a hazard addressed with the good old-fashioned looking-where-your-damn-hands-are method, feels like a perfect challenge for this kind of sensory technology to tackle.

(Image: Addy Cameron-HuffCC-licensed)