BMW has put a lot of attention into headlight and visibility technology over the years. From adaptive LED beams to Side View screens, safe driving has continued to be a priority. After all, who wants to see a gorgeous BMW damaged?
However, none of those innovations compare to one of BMW’s up-and-coming features: night vision.
BMW Night Vision Technology Is Helpful, But a Bit Spooky
The German automaker describes the technology best in its own words: “BMW Night Vision with Dynamic Light Spot makes people and larger animals in the dark recognisable in thermal imaging–even at a significant distance–and illuminates them selectively.”
If this technology hasn’t been used in a horror movie to reveal spirits yet, it has to eventually.
While we wish this display were projected across the windshield (as it no doubt will be in the future) it sits on a screen in the dashboard, just out of the driver’s line of vision. Just so no hazards are missed, a blinking symbol is displayed with a chime that primes the brakes when something is spotted..
What makes this night vision system better than others in the past is its identification of thermal heat rather than light. Highlighting warm bodies gives a clear view of things on the display screen. Thus, fog and snow won’t block the sensors.
BMW Night Vision technology first appeared in 2005 on the 7-Series, and in 2008 the pedestrian detection aspect was added. It wasn’t until 2013 that animal detection improved with Dynamic Light Spot, added to the 7-Series, which shines a bright spotlight on living beings it detects (which has had some trouble getting approved in the US due to headlamp brightness restrictions).
Now, the night vision feature finally moves to other BMW models, including the 2015 X5. 6-Series, and M5 Sedan. Just expect to pay a couple thousand extra to enjoy safer driving.
Below is a side-by-side example of night vision in action.