According to Gunter Reichert, head of BMW Traffic & Vehicle Research, the ALC can pre-calculate the situation to a certain extent: before cornering, it turns the headlights so that they illuminate only the inner side of the road curve. With that, the driver will not have to drive into a “black hole.” With the help of a small camera, the tomorrow's BMWs will be able to recognize road signs and inform the driver about speed limits, etc. Soon, cameras will even replace the rear-view mirrors. “Blind spots” will stop impairing the driver's visibility. Another camera will watch the edge of the roadway and control the vehicle's trajectory. If the car gets too close to the edge, the Heading Control system will warn the driver about the danger: it will slightly increase the back-pressure on the steering wheel. Infrared cameras, that are currently being tested, track the road direction in the darkness and also allow the driver to see people or animals on the road or next to it long before they're caught in the headlight. The images of the objects detected by the system are projected as a kind of black-and-white film onto the lower part of the windshield, or are displayed on the monitor. Driving in cities will also become easier. “The next generation of the Active Cruise Control system can work even in traffic jams,” says Gunter Reichert. “The car will be following the vehicle in front fully automatically. “The person behind the wheel will have to slow down only before the red light, if his or her car is the first in the lane to approach it.” But in spite of all the technical refinements, the decision-making rests on the driver. According to Reichert, all the driver aid systems are designed to help the person. They do not have to exonerate the driver from responsibility.
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