German luxury automaker BMW has unveiled the new BMW 5-series sedan, which introduces an innovative feature allowing drivers to change lanes on the highway simply by looking to the side. The car’s optional Highway Assistant system enables long-distance highway driving without the need to touch the steering wheel or pedals. While similar features are available from other automakers, BMW has added a unique capability: drivers
can change lanes by looking at the outside mirrors.
Traditionally, automated lane changes require the driver to request or approve the lane change using the turn signal. However, with BMW’s new system, if the automated driving systemsuggests a lane change, the driver can simply look at the corresponding side mirror, and the car will initiate the maneuver. A camera positioned behind the steering monitors the driver’s gaze to ensure they are watching the road continuously.
If the driver fails to do so, warnings will be displayed, and the system may deactivate. In the event that the driver appears incapacitated, the car will come to a stop with hazard lights activated. If the car hasn’t suggested a lane change, the driver can still request one by signaling with theturn signal stalk.
The system utilizes sensors to detect sufficient space in the other lane and the absence of high-speed approaching vehicles. Once the coast is clear, the car will execute the lane change. This feature operates at speeds up to 85 miles per hour. The new BMW 5-series will hit the market in October and will be available in various gasoline-powered versions with four- and six-cylinder engines, as well as a fully electric model called the i5 eDrive40. The electric variant is priced at $67,000 and boasts an estimated range of 295 miles on a full charge. Plug-in hybrid versions of the car are expected to be released in the coming year.