The Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection system significantly advances the first-gen system found in the last 7-series by adding people-spotting technology that distinguishes between animals and humans. The system was developed by the Swedish firm Autoliv Electronics. It is the latest evolution of technology that Lexus and Mercedes-Benz also have offered since Cadillac brought it to the automotive sector in the 2000 Deville sedan.
Since then, thermal imaging has made way for far- and near-infrared cameras that detect even the smallest changes in temperature. BMW’s passive system uses far-infrared technology to scan for heat, whereas Mercedes’ near-infrared system illuminates the road with projected infrared light. The BMW system stands apart for its extreme depth, clarity in rain and ability to minimize extraneous information. Despite the added safety such systems offer, Cadillac and Lexus dropped them because few people bought them. But BMW, like Mercedes, still sees a market for it.
The system does a great job of helping you see in the dark, but it is not without flaws.