Advanced driver assist systems have proven useful for small tasks, such as parallel parking and blind spot detection. These technologies have been around for over a decade, begging the question: What’s next? What new capabilities will the next generation of ADAS bring to the table for BMW and the automotive industry as a whole?
New ADAS in BMW’s EVs
BMW announced the anticipated release of the 7-series in 2022, which includes the all-electric i7, 740i and 760i xDrive. It’s the first time BMW has unveiled a fully electric line of vehicles, but another “first” is arguably more important: a brand new ADAS. The 7-series will give the public its first glimpse of the most recent developments in driver assistance technology.
Some key elements of the new ADAS include the latest models of cameras and radar sensors, updated AI software, and a 5G connection for the BMW Cloud. The cameras have eight megapixels, which would mark the first time the public has access to this technology. It would reduce the number of cameras in the vehicle and double the coverage.
Drivers can also adjust their ADAS with remote software updates, enabling them to add and remove functions when switching to a new BMW. The 7-series will get automatic updates to ensure it remains at the forefront of BMW’s technological development.
According to BMW’s ownership group, the goal of the new ADAS is to provide drivers with the best possible support and comfort in all traffic conditions they might encounter. They want to focus on improving the ADAS’s capabilities in connection with the driver’s personal habits — assuming they aren’t dangerous.
With this goal in mind, 7-series vehicles allow their owners to customize the steering and braking functions. The ADAS then studies the driver’s preferences and applies them to its usual functions, such as cruise control and highway driving. Perhaps most impressively, people can now take their hands off the steering wheel while going up to 80 mph.
The opposite goes for bad habits. If someone uses their phone too often or has other dangerous tendencies, the ADAS will provide recommendations to mitigate these problems.
Improved Driver Safety
The main benefit of ADAS has always been improved safety. As many as 35% of car owners have credited forward collision alerts or automatic braking with preventing an accident, while more than 50% said their ADAS helped them escape a crash in the first 90 days of ownership.
Collision warnings aren’t new, but BMW has taken their capabilities to the next level. The 7-series ADAS includes new features specifically for stop-and-go urban traffic, such as the city collision mitigation function. It warns the driver of pedestrians and cyclists around the vehicle. It also helps with tricky driving tasks such as left-hand turns in the middle of traffic.
Other mainstays are also back and better than ever, including the speed limit assist, evasion assist and lane departure warning. These functions come with updated visuals and sounds to get the driver’s attention without causing a major distraction. BMW’s new ADAS has set the standard for driver safety and customization.
Recent Developments With Other Manufacturers
BMW gets most of the spotlight because of its luxury status, but 2022 was also a big year for ADAS with other manufacturers. You’ll notice some similarities between BMW’s recent advancements and these developments:
- Honda began using a new SENSING Elite system, which meets the requirements for Level 3 of autonomous driving.
- Continental AG released two new sensors — the Current Sensor Module and Battery Impact Detection system — to help EV owners preserve their vehicles’ batteries.
- Magna and Blackberry collaborated to develop wireless QNX software, which is essential for Wi-Fi and 5G vehicle integration.
- Magna’s latest cameras, which include 3D and surround view, made their first public appearance in the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
These trends give the average driver a glimpse of what’s to come with ADAS. Autonomous driving hasn’t advanced as fast as hoped at the start of the century, but the steps taken in 2022 show a promising change of pace. Honda reaching Level 3 — also known as conditional automation — is a significant milestone for domestic vehicles.
Given BMW’s recent progress, Level 4 looks extremely close to becoming a reality soon. Level 4 is high automation, where the ADAS performs tasks by itself under certain circumstances. Some commercial vehicles have reached this level on a small scale, but not with the average car. That could be the next step in the evolution of ADAS.
Autonomous Driving Regaining Momentum
Autonomous driving development slowed to a trickle for much of the 2010s and 2020s, but manufacturers are starting to regain momentum. BMW is at the front of the pack with its latest 7-series, but more impressive advancements could be in store for 2023.