BMW Group’s MINI models, more mainstream than luxury, are notable for the driver assistance features the company is promising – features that are largely still associated with luxury cars.
Consider for example:
A head-up display. They’ve been available on BMWs for several years and now they’re coming to the MINI. Relevant information will show up in high-res color on a small folding screen in the top part of the dashboard, between the front window and the steering wheel. The vehicle owner can configure the screen’s contents.
Collision and pedestrian warning with city braking. A multifunction camera can monitor cars ahead and detect people crossing the road. The system issues visual and audible warnings and can initiate braking automatically at speeds up to 35 mph.
Speed limit info and traffic sign memory. MINIs will be able to detect traffic signs, including speed limits, both day and night. Information captured by the vehicle’s camera is compared against data in the navigation system, and drivers need no longer wonder how fast is too fast.
Video-based adaptive cruise control – a feature especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic. A front camera detects traffic ahead and the system adjusts driving speed accordingly between 20 and 85 mph. When the system is turned on it can speed up or apply the brakes, depending on conditions, but the driver can take over whenever she/he feels the need.
Parallel parking assistant. The system measures potential spaces with ultrasound sensors, the driver presses a button, and the car parks itself. The rear-view camera can also help with parking besides providing the wide-angle visibility so highly valued for backing out of parking spaces.
High-beam assistant. Also controlled by a front camera, this feature switches the high beams on and off, depending on the presence or absence of oncoming traffic.
Features like these are changing the driving experience.