BMW has announced that its Night Vision system, which uses infrared technology to allow the driver to see beyond current headlight range, is now available on the BMW 5 and 6 Series.

It first appeared in the 7-Series six months ago and uses a Far Infrared (FIR) thermal imaging camera to see heat-emitting objects; some alternative systems use an IR beam to illuminate objects at night. According to BMW, its system creates an image of pedestrians, animals or other heat-emitting objects at distances of up to 300m – far further than any other system currently on offer and further than the 150m range of xenon headlights. The images are then projected onto the iDrive screen.

BMW said it believes its system is superior to rival manufacturers as the images shown are only those that emit the most heat, and so stand out far better in a driver’s peripheral vision. The system means drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road, said BMW, and it is particularly effective on long stretches of unlit road or motorway.

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