BMW ConnectedDrive: Intelligent integration provides greater assurance, comfort and safety


The BMW ConnectedDrive range of technology includes a portfolio of innovative functions which serve to ensure maximum comfort, infotainment and safety. BMW ConnectedDrive uses the intelligent link-up of the driver, car and outside world to provide useful information for the situation at hand. The technical pre-eminence and progressive character of the new BMW 3 Series is underpinned by an unmatched combination of driver assistance systems and mobility systems from BMW ConnectedDrive.

Connect Drive

Among the most prominent technologies developed under the banner of BMW ConnectedDrive are the comfort-enhancing systems BMW Parking Assistant, Surround View, Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, and Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display.

High-functionality interface technology providing a prime example of high-level infotainment capability enables the driver and passengers to make extensive use of external mobile phones and music players inside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. Passengers can access their personal music library on their smartphone or music player inside the car. Their playlists, stored song titles and relevant album cover artwork are then displayed on the on-board monitor. The BMW Connected app allows full in-car use of web radio as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

The constantly expanding number of driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive provide added safety and assurance on the road. In a new development in this premium class, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will be available with the new-generation full-colour Head-Up Display. Key driving information is projected – in sharp resolution – onto the windscreen so it appears directly in the driver’s field of view. Safety is given a further boost by the availability of the Lane Change Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System including Collision Warning. This technology warns the driver of a possible collision during a lane change manoeuvre or if the car strays unintentionally out of its lane.

Head-Up Display with full-colour capability.
The new-generation Head-Up Display delivers even greater display quality, functionality and flexibility. The symbols projected onto the windscreen are displayed in sharp resolution in the driver’s direct field of vision. All of which allows drivers to view all of the information in this ergonomically excellent position without having to divert their gaze from the road ahead. A full range of colours are used to reproduce common road sign symbols as accurately as possible through the display graphics.

Depending on vehicle specification, the car’s speed, speed limits for a particular road and overtaking restrictions are flashed up, along with navigation instructions and alerts from the Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems. Even direction indicators and Check/Control messages can now be displayed, as well as a wide range of information selected personally by the driver. The intensity of the projections adapts automatically to the light conditions, and therefore follows the illumination of the cockpit dials. Added to which, the precise positioning of the projections on the windscreen can be adjusted easily using the iDrive Controller. The variety of driver assistance systems available for the BMW 3 Series Sedan increases the amount of information that can be shown in the Head-Up Display to a whole new level.

Lane Change Warning System monitors vehicles following behind.
Inattentiveness or misjudgement of the distance and speed of a vehicle approaching from behind can lead the driver into a critical situation when changing lanes. The optional Lane Change Warning System warns BMW 3 Series Sedan drivers of the potential danger of such an overtaking manoeuvre. The system uses a pair of rear-mounted radar sensors to monitor traffic in the adjacent lanes, from the blind spot to a distance of approximately 60 metres behind the car.

This information, indicated to the driver before he actually changes lanes, allows him to prepare for a lane change manoeuvre with confidence and to avoid critical situations from the outset. If other road users are approaching the car in an adjacent lane or moving through the driver’s blind spot behind and to the side of the car, a yellow triangle symbol in the housing of the driver’s side exterior mirror gives a discreet warning of possible danger. If the driver then still goes ahead and activates the direction indicator, announcing an intention to pull in or out, the LED symbol starts to flash. A further warning is provided in the form of a discreet but unmistakable vibration of the steering wheel rim.

Camera monitoring: Lane Departure Warning System and Collision Warning. 

The Lane Departure Warning System available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan is activated at speeds above 70 km/h and warns the driver if he unintentionally strays out of his lane. The system comprises a windscreen-mounted camera in the rear-view mirror area, a data comparison unit and a signal generator which causes the steering wheel to vibrate. The Lane Departure Warning System is speed-sensitive.

At high speeds, the system reacts at a suitably early stage if the car is getting close to the lane markings. The camera tracks the lane markings on at least one side of the car, and the control unit uses image processing to calculate the position of the car in relation to the markings. The camera focuses some 50 metres ahead of the car and is also active through corners and on narrow roads. Indeed, the system even works in the dark as soon as the headlights have been switched on.

The driver can therefore count on its services in a wide range of everyday driving scenarios. The system does not give a warning if the driver has signalled an intention to change lanes or turn off by switching on the direction indicator. BMW ConnectedDrive uses a high-tech multifunctional camera, mounted on the rear-view mirror, to initiate a number of different driver assistance systems. With the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, BMW will become the first premium manufacturer to use such a camera for monitoring traffic on the road ahead.

The image processing system continuously scans the scene on the road and gives an audible warning if it identifies a potential collision risk. If the driver draws too close to the vehicle in front, the system produces an acute audible warning and a visual signal appears in the instrument cluster or the optional Head-Up Display, if specified. At speeds upwards of 50 km/h, the brake system is primed and the activation threshold of the hydraulic Brake Assist system is lowered. These measures, which are activated simultaneously with the visual and audible warnings, are designed to help the driver react effectively in an emergency. There is no automatic braking intervention. The sensitivity of the automatic Collision Warning system can be individually configured by the driver through several stages.

Active Protection – preventative occupant protection.
The Active Protection safety package is making its debut in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan under the banner of BMW ConnectedDrive.

This assistance system is activated shortly after the driver pulls away – from 18 km/h – and tightens the driver and front passenger seat belts automatically to take up any slack. If the car enters a critical pre-crash scenario, the driver and front passenger belts are pulled tight, and the side windows and sunroof are closed. If the front-mounted camera or radar detects an emergency braking manoeuvre initiated by the driver or the onset of heavy understeer or oversteer, Active Protection deduces that a collision is likely.

If a crash is unavoidable, the system automatically brakes the car without any intervention required from the driver. Following the initial impact, the car is then slowed to a standstill with maximum deceleration of 5 m/s² and its brakes locked for a further 1.5 seconds. This reduces the likelihood of – or even prevents – a second collision.

Intelligent use of advanced light technology.
The optional High-Beam Assistant for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan provides enhanced safety at night. The system automatically switches high beam on and off, as conditions require, ensuring that the driver always has optimal visibility without having to switch manually between high and low beam. Images recorded by the camera integrated into the rear-view mirror allow the system to identify vehicles travelling up to around 400 metres (approx. ¼ mile) in front. Oncoming traffic is picked up when it is still around 1,000 metres (just under ¾ mile) away, and the system also switches to low beam if ambient lighting is bright enough.

If the optional bi-xenon headlights are specified, the new BMW 3 Series Sedan can also be ordered with the latest-generation Adaptive Headlights with cornering lights, variable headlight distribution and adaptive headlight range control for city and motorway driving. The Adaptive Headlights provide illumination that follows the course of the road, swivelling in line with the steering angle and the speed of the car.

The cornering light function integrated into the foglamps is triggered when the driver switches on the indicator and turns the steering wheel (at up to 65 km/h). Every time the driver turns off, an additional beam of light provides significantly improved visibility in the area immediately around the car. Included in the equipment package for the first time is an anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant, which allows high beam to remain engaged even when there is oncoming traffic. A cover applied across the headlights as and when required eliminates the danger of dazzling approaching vehicles.

Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display and Speed Limit Device.
In combination with the navigation system Professional or Business, Speed Limit Info helps alert drivers to the current speed limit on the road on which they are travelling. The camera integrated into the rear-view mirror continuously monitors road signs, including variable-message overhead signs on motorways and dual carriageways.

This information is checked against the navigation system’s database of speed limits. The camera ensures that additional signs or temporary restrictions – at roadworks, for example – are taken into account. As part of this function BMW ConnectedDrive introduces the No Passing Info display in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan for the first time. As with speed limits, if the system detects an overtaking restriction, a symbol of a road sign is displayed in the instrument cluster or optional Head-Up Display until this restriction changes or no longer applies.

The system stores all the data temporarily, allowing the most recently recorded limits and restriction signs to be flagged up once again if the driver resumes a journey after a short break.

In addition, a Speed Limit Device can now also be ordered as an option. This system limits the car’s maximum speed to between 30 and 230 km/h, as set by the driver using a keypad on the left-hand steering wheel spoke. The car can then accelerate without restriction up to the pre-set limit. Should the driver wish to exceed this speed even though the speed limit function is activated, a short, firm stamp on the accelerator lifts the restriction briefly. The function becomes active again as soon as the car slows back down below the pre-set limit.

Rear view camera and Surround View deliver a perfect overview.
A rear view camera is also available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan as an extension of the Park Distance Control (PDC) system. PDC uses sensors in the bumpers to detect the distance to obstacles in front of and behind the car. The camera is located in a protected position in the licence plate recess of the boot lid and sends images with optimised colour and perspective to the cockpit monitor.

Interactive lane markings signal the room available for the parking manoeuvre and the smallest possible turning circle. Added to which, a zoom function covering the area immediately behind the car helps the driver to back up accurately when hitching up a trailer.

Making its debut in the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the Surround View system provides an even more extensive overview of the car. This system complements the rear view camera and PDC sensors, and works using two cameras in the exterior mirrors. The data collected on the car and its surrounding area is processed by a central computer, which generates an overall image. This is then displayed on the on-board monitor, presenting a bird’s-eye view of the car and the area around it, and enabling the driver to carry out precise manoeuvres in tight spaces.

If the car is moving at under 20 km/h, the driver can – at the touch of a button – also choose to activate only the Side View function of Surround View. Side View uses two cameras integrated in the sides of the front bumper to monitor traffic crossing in front of the vehicle. These images are also relayed to the cockpit, where they not only act as a manoeuvring aid but, above all, give the driver an early idea of what is happening on the road to the left and right of the car when pulling out from narrow and concealed exits or junctions.

Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function.
Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function – or ACC Stop&Go for short – not only maintains the desired distance to the vehicle in front, in heavy traffic it also slows the car to a standstill. Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function is a further development of the familiar Active Cruise Control (ACC) system. At speeds between 30 and 180 km/h, it enables drivers to cruise along comfortably in free-flowing traffic on motorways or country roads at their preselected speed and while maintaining their desired distance to the vehicle in front. If traffic conditions demand, the system also adjusts the car’s distance automatically to the vehicle ahead of it.

ACC Stop&Go likewise relieves the workload on the driver of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan in slow-moving traffic and tailbacks. In stop-start conditions the car is braked to a standstill, if required, and pulls away again automatically. This allows the driver to move comfortably with the flow of the traffic and delegate the job of creeping, stopping and moving off to the car.

If the car has been at a standstill for a longer period of time (more than three seconds), the driver has to give the command for the car to automatically pull away again by nudging the accelerator or pressing the “Resume” button on the multifunction steering wheel. The driver can adjust the car’s speed at any time while the system is activated by pressing the accelerator or brake pedal, and so retains ultimate responsibility for the car at all times.

The maximum deceleration applied by Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function at low speeds is 4 m/s2 . At higher speeds, it is limited to a comfortable 2.5 m/s2. If the driver needs to intervene because the vehicle in front is braking extremely heavily, he is prompted to do so by visual and acoustic signals. At the same time, the deployment thresholds of the Brake Assistant are lowered and the Brake Standby function of the DSC system is activated.

Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function works using a latest-generation radar sensor. The “full-range” radar can detect vehicles travelling up to 200 metres in front of the car in virtually any weather conditions. This innovative sensor is integrated discreetly into the front apron of the car and needs no individual adjustment. The system’s measuring beam is sufficiently broad at distances up to some 60 metres from the car that vehicles in the adjacent lanes can be detected by the radar sensors – within certain limits – earlier than with the conventional ACC system.

If another vehicle moves into the same lane as the driver’s car, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function adapts the speed of the BMW 3 Series precisely to that of the vehicle moving over.

BMW Parking Assistant takes charge of manoeuvring into parking spaces.
The BMW Parking Assistant is another comfort-enhancing driver assistance system from BMW ConnectedDrive to be included in the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The new system helps the driver to manoeuvre safely and comfortably into parking spaces positioned parallel to the direction of travel. BMW Parking Assistant uses ultrasound sensors integrated into the side indicator surrounds to help the driver search for suitable parking spaces. With the car travelling at no more than 36 km/h, these sensors permanently measure the length and breadth of parking spaces at the edge of the road and on roadside verges.

BMW Parking Assistant searches for spaces at least 1.20 metres longer than the car itself. With the system activated, the driver is alerted to suitable spaces as he passes them. When the system is switched off, this measuring process takes place in the background; only when the driver draws to a halt and engages reverse gear is the parking space flagged up on the on-board monitor using a suitable symbol. In both cases, drivers can confirm they want to use BMW Parking Assistant with a push of the iDrive Controller.

During the parking process all they have to do is operate the accelerator and brake pedal and keep an eye on the area around the car; the Parking Assistant takes care of the steering wheel movements required to carry out a precise reverse parking manoeuvre. Drivers are given instructions to guide them through the parking process. Audible and visual alerts from PDC, the rear view camera or the newly introduced Surround View system help to maintain the required distance to other vehicles or obstacles in the chosen parking space.

Innovative boot access makes life a little easier.
BMW ConnectedDrive has come up with another convenience-enhancing feature: the hands-free boot lid opening function – available for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan in conjunction with Comfort Access – is a first in the premium class.

Standing behind the car, customers can prompt the boot to open with just a short movement of their foot under the centre of the rear bumper, i.e. without using their hands. The boot then automatically unlocks and swings open by spring force. The vehicle is fitted with sensors placed at different heights in the rear bumper trim, which are able to identify a person standing behind the vehicle.

The sensors can identify the foot “command” by monitoring the area of the leg between the shin and the tip of the foot. They then send a signal containing special algorithms to the on-board computer. Access is only authorised, however, if the system simultaneously identifies the Comfort Access control unit (the key), which the person must be carrying with them. The boot lid is then unlocked and raised automatically, without hand contact. Key authorisation provides the safeguard ensuring correct operation at all times.

Even more entertainment at the wheel: with BMW Live and BMW Online.

Subject to owning a suitable internet-compatible mobile phone and arranging a requisite data tariff, new BMW 3 Series Sedan customers can enjoy a selection of services from the existing BMW Online range via the Bluetooth data connection. All available online functions are displayed on the on-board monitor via Bluetooth and can be operated effortlessly and intuitively using the iDrive Controller. The customer’s mobile phone serves as a modem. In order to activate their preferred type of news, customers just have to type in the desired domain. The portal searches the associated RSS feeds automatically on the website and enables the headlines to be read out via BMW Text to Speech.

BMW ConnectedDrive allows passengers to display e-mails via the operating system iDrive. Incoming e-mails are shown on the on-board monitor and can also be read out using the optional Text to Speech function. These new routes to accessing e-mails are based on the Bluetooth office functions already introduced by BMW ConnectedDrive. These functions offer world-leading functionality and allow the transfer of call records, contact lists, calendar entries, text messages (SMS), tasks and notes from compatible smartphones to the vehicle, via the Bluetooth interface.

The relevant entries on the phone are likewise selected using the iDrive Controller and shown on the on-board monitor. The telephone function allows contacts lists, including image files, to be transferred from a mobile phone into the car via the Bluetooth interface. For example, when the driver receives an incoming call, the caller’s number, name and now also a picture of them is displayed on the Control Display.

The BMW Connected app allows the driver and passengers to access features such as web radio, Facebook and Twitter via integrated Apple devices. Personal playlists stored on external audio devices can be accessed using iDrive.

The BMW 3 Series: