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New BMW 5 Series sedan to feature unique eye-tracking, lane changing tech

During its 5 Series announcement on Wednesday, May 25, BMW showcased an
intriguing, first-of-its-kind feature: eye-based lane-changing.

The 5 Series’s newest addition, a sedan called the 2024 BMW i5, will launch later
this fall with a new driver assistance platform. The optional Highway Assistant
system includes multiple auto-piloting functions similar to other self-driving suites
made by competitors. Where it differs from the rest is in how the user can control
the vehicle when the software is engaged. Using eye-tracking cameras, its Active
Lane Change feature allows the driver to direct a lane merger simply by looking in
the right direction.

According to BMW, this feature monitors the driver’s eyes for movement. When the
user looks at the side-view mirror to check for incoming traffic, the i5 sedan will
automatically maneuver into the lane, provided it can do so safely. This allows the
entire process to be conducted without manual interaction, removing the need to
confirm the merger with turn-signals or steering. While this is not the first vehicle
to track where drivers are looking, Active Lane Change is the only system to use
eye motions as an input for vehicle control.

While the system is innovative, its inclusion in the BMW i5 sedan relates to broader
discussions on the role new technology should play in improving the driver
experience. Computer glitches are rampant in the automotive industry, as
evidenced by the growing number of recalls fixed by over-the-air patches. Making
otherwise simple vehicle functions reliant on complicated software and hardware
is likely to create headaches for some consumers, at least until a car manufacturer
develops a truly flawless product. However, given its luxury pricing, the 5 series is likely intended for those who can afford to test the latest iterations of automotive
tech, and as such its suite of driver-assistance features are likely to win over some
automotive tech enthusiasts.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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