This holiday season gives me the pleasure of driving around in a new BMW 750i. One of the cool technological tidbits is BMW’s Lane Departure Warning. The system uses a camera on the rear view mirror (like the aftermarket Mobileye www.mobileye.com unit) to scan out the painted lines in the roadway. The dashboard displays is the system is active and will then alert you if it can read the roadlines on both sides of the lane you are traveling in. Of course, it does have limitations if those lines are covered in snow or are heavily faded.
However, for the most part, I get yelled at by my wife for using too much of the roadway and not adhering to my lane when traffic is very light. Not speeding, just taking the turns as Juan Manuel Fangio might have and using all of the available asphalt. It drives her crazy. Moreover, there is no button to turn her off. BMW’s technology works wonders for my poor driving habit. It uses just the right amount of tactile feedback through the steering wheel as a gentle vibration to let you know you have veered off course. But not too severe to make you turn the technology off- a problem with a lot of features that incessantly beep or bark orders at you.
It will only be a short matter of time before this technology will be implemented in cruise control systems and vehicles will able to pilot themselves in certain driving conditions. Not quite the autonomous Google car just yet, but a step toward that direction. But for a long trip down straight interstate, there is a ton of potential in this technology. www.bmwusa.com