BMW have gone a step further in the production of better safety for passengers recently. They are self-testing automatic protective systems that warn the driver in advance of a potential accident. The system which is available on the new 5 series and 7-series was tested out recently at the Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein (DEKRA) facility near Hamburg.

The situation that was tested out was that of a high way pile up. When the 5-Series first approaches the other vehicles, the anticipatory assistance system activates an alarm scenario in two stages. This is incorporated into the Active Cruise Control (ACC) feature.

A preliminary warning red light will appear on the instrument panel and on the Heads-up Display, while the hydraulics in the brake system are pre-filled so that the minimum triggering assistance is lowered. Thus if the emergency brake is applied by the driver, stopping distance will be shorter.

If the risk of the collision is more severe, the second stage commences which is the activation of a warning sound along with the red lights. If the driver hasn’t reacted to that, the car will then brake for 1.2 seconds reducing speed. If on the other hand the Active Cruise Control system detects that the collision is imminent, the emergency brakes will be applied automatically.

In the test, the car decelerates from 64km/h to 40km/h hitting safety boxes at a reasonable speed. The brakes being applied just before collision further helps lessen the severity of impact on occupants.

Though the technology is not taken into account in any current crash testing standards such as the Euro NCAP, BMW hope that this technology will be the stepping stone in passenger safety across the board.