The SUV can ‘remember’ the last 50 metres driven
On Thursday, when BMW India launched the new X5 SUV, it also introduced in India a unique capability in semi-autonomous driving. This fourth-generation X5 is equipped with a technology called Reversing Assistant, which stores the last 50 metres of the driven path in the forward direction (if you are driving at speeds up to 35kph), so that the path can be retraced, if required.
So, how does it work?
Let’s say you take a wrong turn (on an empty, narrow road, or inside a mall parking where a U-turn isn’t possible), all you have to do is activate Reversing Assistant using the central touchscreen of the X5 when the vehicle is stationary, and then put the vehicle in reverse and take your hands off the steering wheel.
In a jiffy, the technology will start reversing the X5. The driver has to control the throttle or brake, while the vehicle will handle the steering exactly how it remembers it, reversing it on the exact same route it travelled on. The reversing speed is automatically maintained—at 9kph. Reversing Assistant keeps memorising the steering movements made while driving forward at speeds up to 35kph at all times, and for the last 50 metres. If you’re driving faster, it won’t store the data.
While the technology appears promising—it can help save the car’s body from scratches that often happen while reversing, especially in narrow mall parking lots—there can be a downside to the same. For example, if your vehicle gets scraped to a pillar or another vehicle while moving forward, using Reversing Assistant—driving back on the exact same path—can make matters worse.
The X5, priced from Rs 72.9 lakh onwards (ex-showroom), also gets Parking Assistant Plus technology, which measures potential spaces while driving past the cars already parked. Once it finds one, it sends a signal. As you activate Parking Assistant Plus, and take your hands off the steering wheel and your legs off the pedals, the vehicle will automatically park itself parallel or perpendicular to the vehicles.
The X5 is currently available in two diesel models—X5 xDrive30d Sport and X5 xDrive30d xLine. The petrol variant—X5 xDrive40i M Sport—will be available later in 2019.