Mini adding new driver assist systems to future modelsSun, 13 Oct 2013 17:02:00 EST
With all the recent news about automated vehicle technology (from Ford, Nissan and Toyota, among others), Mini is bringing some not-so-groundbreaking tech into its products to better keep the driver connected to the car. Other than stating that these new technologies will roll out in future models, there is no telling when we could see them starting to show up, although our best guess is the 2015 Mini Cooper.
Two of the more notable technologies that Mini will introduce include a head-up display system (shown above) and the "city braking" system to work in conjunction with collision warning and passenger detection. The automated braking system is made possible with the forward-mounted camera, which is also used for adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming headlights and a street sign detection system (to relay speed limit and traffic sign info to the driver). A new parking assist feature helps drivers find a properly sized parking spot, and then drivers can take advantage of the backup camera.
Mini obviously isn't the first to introduce these technologies, but it might be among the first to bring such a large number of advanced safety features into a car priced under $30,000 – though there is no telling how much these options will cost. The automaker has issued a brief press release for its upcoming driver assist systems, which is posted below.
The new MINI driver assist systems.
Intelligent networking between the MINI, the driver and the outside world create new ways to enhance driving pleasure, extend the range of comfort functions and provide the latest services in the area of in-car infotainment. Since its launch, MINI Connected has been marketing leading in the area of in-car technology, pioneering access to apps and services to both assist and entertain driver and passengers.
In future models MINI will roll out a number of innovative driver assist systems that also use intelligent networking for the exchange of information between driver and vehicle. The new functions transform the MINI more than ever into its driver's assistant and offer innovative comfort and safety technology.
When it comes to the development and configuration of new driver assist systems, MINI exploits the BMW Groups' worldwide leadership in innovation in this area. Networking technology has been used for the targeted exchange of information between driver, vehicle and the outside world for more than 40 years. Innovations like the radar-based distance warning device (1972), the world's first on-board computer with exterior temperature display (1980), the first navigation system fully integrated in the vehicle from a European manufacturer (1994) and first Emergency Call system, still unique to this day, first introduced in 1997, are among the milestones set by the company in this area. As early as 2007, interface technology for integrating the Apple iPhone in the MINI operating system was introduced. Since 2011, additional online-based functions can be integrated in the MINI Connected package with the help of apps.
The MINI head-up display helps the driver concentrate on what is happening on the road by displaying relevant information right in the driver's line of vision. This can be seen quickly and conveniently without having to take your eyes off the road. The collision warning and pedestrian warning systems, including city braking function make it easier to avoid dangerous situations, particularly in city traffic. The MINI parking assist feature offers maximum comfort in searching for and using parking spaces, while the reversing camera gives drivers a better view when manoeuvring.
Other innovations in the driver assist systems for MINI include the video-based speed and distance control which automatically keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and the speed limit information system, which detects and displays speed limits as they apply to the current section of road. This system is supplemented by the no passing display and traffic sign memory functions. The digital headlight assist function contributes to optimum visual conditions when driving at night. This system helps the driver use the full range of headlight functions. Oncoming traffic and preceding vehicles are registered by a camera, while automatic switching to dimmed headlights avoids causing a nuisance for other drivers.
By Jeffrey N. Ross
See also: Next-gen Mini could sire 10 different models including PHEV, 2015 Mini Cooper snapped uncovered on the road, Mini announces thoroughly modern engines and chassis for 2014 Cooper.