If you’re a self-proclaimed lazy driver and find manual steering too much of an effort, BMW’s latest car is right up your street.
The German carmaker’s all-electric 5 Series Sedan lets you change lanes just by looking at your wing mirror.
The car – which starts at £49,850 – is fitted with cameras behind the steering wheel that monitor the gaze of the driver.
When the vehicle suggests a lane change, such as when the car in front is going too slowly, it can be confirmed by the driver by looking at the wing mirror.
Once this confirmation sign has been received, the vehicle takes over the necessary steering movements automatically and changes lanes.
The new BMW 5 Series includes a feature called ‘Active Lane Change Assistant’ that tracks eye movements of the driver
BMW says the ‘world first’ feature on the 5 Series Sedan, called Active Lane Change Assistant, ‘partially automates the driving experience’ and creates the conditions for ‘outstanding functionality’.
BMW 5 Series Sedan
Power: Fully electric
Length: 16 feet
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 3.3 to 7.9 seconds
Availability: October 2023
Price: Starts at £49,850
‘This comfort feature now achieves a new level of interaction between the driver and the vehicle,’ the company said in a statement.
‘The vehicle suggests a lane change and this can be carried out for the first time by looking in the exterior mirror to confirm the lane change.
‘The Active Lane Change Assistant takes over the necessary steering movements automatically, the traffic situation permitting.’
Active Lane Change Assistant is optional, so it can be turned on and off, and it only works at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour.
The technology gives a visual alert on the screen behind the steering wheel when it’s suggesting a change of lane, and the driver can decide whether or not to accept by glimpsing the mirror.
While the new technology marks an impressive step forward for automated cruising, drivers may have safety concerns over handing over such a capability to a machine.
It’s unclear what happens when the driver wants to glance at their wing mirror but doesn’t want to agree to the AI’s suggestion to change lanes when the feature is turned on.
MailOnline has contacted BMW for more information.
BMW says: ‘The Active Lane Change Assistant takes over the necessary steering movements automatically, the traffic situation permitting’
The car comes with two displays for drivers – one 12.3-inch Information Display providing stats such as speeds and battery charge and a 14.9-inch Control Display
At speeds below 85 miles per hour, drivers will also be able to take their hands off the wheel as long as they ‘keep a close eye on the traffic’.
Aside from the Active Lane Change Assistant, BMW boasted a number of ‘digital innovations’ in the new car, which will be released in October.
BMW said the ‘cockpit’ of the new car has a reduced number of buttons and controls, achieved by ‘consistently digitalising functions’, while the steering wheel has been redesigned with haptic feedback on the control panels.
Haptics provide tactile sensations such as vibrations when users apply pressure with their finger, much like a video game controller.
The 5 Series Sedan comes with two displays for drivers – one 12.3-inch Information Display providing stats such as speeds and battery charge and a 14.9-inch Control Display.
Aside from providing route mapping, the Control Display allows video streaming and gaming for passengers when the vehicle is stationary.
Using the Control Display for entertainment purposes will let passengers ‘bridge waiting times’ while charging the car’s battery, BMW said.
Meanwhile, automated parking and manoeuvring of up to 650 feet (200 metres) can be controlled in the vehicle or by smartphone outside the vehicle.
The 5 Series Sedan also has a ‘sporty elegance and presence’ and a ‘fully vegan interior’, meaning it’s been upholstered without the use of leather.
According to BMW, the market launch of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan will begin in October 2023
BMW says the ‘world first’ feature, called Active Lane Change Assistant, ‘partially automates the driving experience’ and creates the conditions for ‘outstanding functionality’
Overall, it offers ‘ideal conditions for enjoying hallmark BMW driving pleasure in everyday traffic and a high level of comfort on long-distance journeys’, the carmaker said in a statement.
‘Generous space, modern functionality, a high level of acoustic comfort as well as high-quality, precisely processed materials, fine workmanship and advanced digital services characterise the ambience in its interior,’ the firm said.
BMW has been behind a range of interesting in-vehicle technology in recent years, although not all of it will be coming to market.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, it recruited Arnold Schwarzenegger to unveil a colour changing car – called the BMW i Vision Dee.
The electric vehicle sport sedan uses electronic ink to transition between 32 colours, including purple, pink, yellow, white and red
The electric vehicle sport sedan uses electronic ink to transition between 32 colours, including purple, pink, yellow, white and red.
BMW told MailOnline that the car is just a prototype and ‘vision of the distant future’ – and that it wouldn’t be bringing it to market.
Meanwhile, the new fully-electric BMW i7 has 5G connectivity, interior mood lighting and a super-wide ‘theatre screen’ in the back.
The 8K screen, which measures 32×9 inches, folds out from the sun roof at the touch of a button and streams video from Netflix, YouTube and more.
BMW sparks controversy over £15/month heated seat subscription
BMW generated controversy in 2022 when it introduced a subscription for heated seats.
BMW’s service charge £15 per month to turn on heated front seats, as well as an additional £10 per month to switch on the heated steering wheel.
One Twitter user pointed out: ‘Its like buying a laptop with a built in camera and having to pay the PC company every month to use that camera.’
The service charges drivers £15/month to turn on heated front seats, and an additional £10/month to switch on the heated steering wheel
Another added: ‘BMW started selling subscriptions for heated seats in their luxury models. I don’t care how wealthy you are, you’re an IDIOT if you go along with this.’
Mercedes did something similar by introducing a $1,200 (£990) per-year subscription to unlock enhanced performance in its cars.
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