BMW Patents New Stereo Camera System for Motorcycles

As technology advances, motorcycles are becoming safer than ever before. This year, Kawasaki introduced a front camera on its H2 SX, which automatically switches between high and low beam headlights to avoid blinding other drivers. 

  • BMW is taking motorcycle safety to the next level with its new stereo camera setup.
  • The patent application describes a stereo camera system with one camera module mounted in the front of each mirror housing. 

This design allows for easy integration across multiple models without requiring redesigned bodywork. The stereo cameras also offer a wider scope and the ability to judge distances and estimate the bike’s position three-dimensionally on the road.

While the Kawasaki setup is intended to allow for the use of auto-dipping headlights, BMW’s system takes it further by integrating with “matrix” headlights. 

These headlights can mask parts of the headlight beam to give a local dimming effect. The stereo camera system can detect oncoming vehicles and cut the light only in the part that would be hitting them, allowing the headlight’s bright beam to remain on without blinding other drivers.

The cameras have a range of applications beyond just aiding headlights. According to the patent application, they can assist in identifying road signs and traffic lights, provide lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and collision warning. 

Despite BMW’s current use of Bosch radar technology for adaptive cruise control on certain motorcycles, camera technology has distinct advantages in certain situations. For example, in terms of collision warning or automatic braking systems, cameras can detect brake lights on vehicles in front, giving more advanced warning than radar technology alone.

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