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BMW Stopping Safely in a Medical Emergency

June 5th, 2009
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BMW engineers are developing a system that will safely bring a car to a controlled stop on the side of the road in a health-related emergency.

The system automatically activates an autonomous driving mode when it detects that the driver has a serious medical problem, and carries out a controlled emergency stop.

The car switches on the hazard warning lights and manoeuvres carefully – taking into account the traffic around it – to the outer edge of the road, before drawing to a standstill.

At the same time, an emergency call is sent out containing the data required to initiate the necessary medical and traffic-related assistance measures.

The prototype Emergency Stop Assistant is being initially developed for motorways and roads resembling motorways in order to keep a limit on the variety of possible driving situations, which vary infinitely in complexity.

BMW Group Research and Technology is developing the system as part of the research project SmartSenior, launched by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany.

As Ralf Decke, project manager for SmartSenior at BMW Group Research and Technology, explains: “Our primary aim is to avoid accidents caused by a health-related loss of control – or at least to reduce the severity of such accidents.”

The emergency stop assistance system is based both on sensors designed to monitor vital data and on existing BMW assistance systems.

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