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An Early Look at the F56 MINI’s Driver Assistant Systems

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If you’re a long time MotoringFile reader you’ll likely remember our report earlier this spring with a detailed list of new options (including options codes) that the F56 MINI would feature. Today MINI is taking the wraps off of a few key pieces of technology revolving around driver assistance.

One of the key features of this and the center-piece of F56’s interior design is the light ring. Yes MINI is ditching the center speedo. But they still want the interior to functionally revolve around the center of the car. Enter the Light Ring. With this technology MINI has invented character in the F56 that is designed to set the car apart while not being difficult to get use to. But there’s more than that in this release. We also get an early look at MINI’s version of heads-up display and the new camera system used front and back.

But back to the Light Ring. Having seen it first had I can attest to it being incredibly cool and surprisingly useful. The use cases surprisingly work with a variety of infotainment functionality on the F56. In other words it’s something that, in practice, doesn’t feel gimmicky but actually useful.

We’ll have much more on the this new tech soon. Until then read on for the full release and gallery.

Official Release: Intelligent networking between the MINI, the driver and the outside world create new ways to enhance driving pleasure, extend the range of comfort functions and provide the latest services in the area of in-car infotainment. Since its launch, MINI Connected has been marketing leading in the area of in-car technology, pioneering access to apps and services to both assist and entertain driver and passengers.

In future models MINI will roll out a number of innovative driver assist systems that also use intelligent networking for the exchange of information between driver and vehicle. The new functions transform the MINI more than ever into its driver’s assistant and offer innovative comfort and safety technology.

When it comes to the development and configuration of new driver assist systems, MINI exploits the BMW Groups’ worldwide leadership in innovation in this area. Networking technology has been used for the targeted exchange of information between driver, vehicle and the outside world for more than 40 years. Innovations like the radar-based distance warning device (1972), the world’s first on-board computer with exterior temperature display (1980), the first navigation system fully integrated in the vehicle from a European manufacturer (1994) and first Emergency Call system, still unique to this day, first introduced in 1997, are among the milestones set by the company in this area. As early as 2007, interface technology for integrating the Apple iPhone in the MINI operating system was introduced. Since 2011, additional online- based functions can be integrated in the MINI Connected package with the help of apps.

The MINI head-up display helps the driver concentrate on what is happening on the road by displaying relevant information right in the driver’s line of vision. This can be seen quickly and conveniently without having to take your eyes off the road. The collision warning and pedestrian warning systems, including city braking function make it easier to avoid dangerous situations, particularly in city traffic. The MINI parking assist feature offers maximum comfort in searching for and using parking spaces, while the reversing camera gives drivers a better view when manoeuvring.

Other innovations in the driver assist systems for MINI include the video- based speed and distance control which automatically keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and the speed limit information system, which detects and displays speed limits as they apply to the current section of road.

This system is supplemented by the no passing display and traffic sign memory functions. The digital headlight assist function contributes to optimum visual conditions when driving at night. This system helps the driver use the full range of headlight functions. Oncoming traffic and preceding vehicles are registered by a camera, while automatic switching to dimmed headlights avoids causing a nuisance for other drivers.

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The head-up display which will be available for future MINI models ensures that drivers always have all the relevant driving information in full view. This information is displayed above the steering wheel and therefore directly in the driver’s line of vision. This means that the information can be assimilated up to 50% faster, while the driver’s attention is focused where it is needed – on the road.

The BMW Group presented a head-up display in a series production car for the first time in 2003. The version of the head-up display specially designed for MINI reinterprets the principle and instead of projecting the information onto the windscreen, displays it on a small folding display in the top part of the dashboard between the front window and the steering wheel.

The MINI head-up display supplies important driving information as a high- resolution colour image in the driver’s line of vision. A clearly differentiated colour scheme makes it easy to distinguish between general information like speed limits and navigation data and urgent warnings, thus reducing the corresponding response time. The contents that the MINI head-up display can show, as well as the permanently displayed speed, depends on the model and equipment. In addition, the driver of a MINI can configure the contents of the MINI head-up display by means of the vehicle’s operating system.

The information that can be displayed in the MINI head-up display includes the speed in numbers, navigation instructions in arrow-based graphics and junction layouts, optical signals for collision warnings, display symbols for the speed limit info and no passing display systems, and details of the entertainment program, such as radio channel or music track. The graphic displays on the high-resolution monitor are extremely clear, whatever the lighting conditions.

In addition, unlike a conventional display, the reflected image appears at a virtual distance. This means that it appears sharp to the driver without his eyes having to refocus when switching from the road to the head-up display. Because the need to constantly switch between close-up and distant vision is no longer necessary, the information displayed can be quickly assimilated. In addition, the position of the display can be adapted according to the size and seating position of the driver, thereby ensuring he always has the perfect perspective for reading the information.

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A multifunctional camera mounted on the windscreen at the same level as the rear view mirror in future MINI models is designed for several driver assist systems, including the collision warning and pedestrian warning with city braking function. This package enables the car in front to be electronically monitored, while also detecting pedestrians crossing the road in front of the car. At speeds of up to 60 km/h, the system automatically initiates braking in potentially dangerous situations, while also issuing visual and acoustic warnings. This effectively contributes to greater safety in urban traffic by avoiding collisions or at least significantly reducing the intensity of impact.

The collision warning system, which registers when the distance between the MINI and the car in front is too small or when the speed difference is too great, can also be used at higher speeds. As soon as the system has registered the danger of a collision by means of the camera images, the driver receives a two-stage alarm. The first warning stage (pre-warning) displays a warning symbol in the instrument cluster and also, when vehicles are appropriately equipped, in the head-up display. In the second warning stage (acoustic warning), the symbol flashes and, in addition an acoustic signal is emitted, prompting the driver to take action. The system is automatically activated when the car is started and can be switched off and on at the press of a button by means of the driver assist unit. The sensitivity of the collision warning system can be individually configured in the menu of the MINI warning system by choosing one of the warning time levels “early”, “medium” or “late”. If the “late” setting is chosen, a hazard detected by the system causes the acoustic warning to be triggered immediately.

The collision warning is active from a speed of about 15 km/h onwards. Depending on the driving speed, the visual or acoustic warning is associated with an increase in braking readiness. To this end, the activation thresholds of the brake assist system are reduced, the brake circuits are pre-filled and the brake linings are applied to the brake disks. This prepares the brake system for a subsequent emergency brake and helps the driver to respond as effectively as possible as necessary.

At speeds of up to 60 km/h, the system can not only detect vehicles in the image generated by the camera, but also pedestrians who cross the path of the MINI. The relevant controller uses the image data to calculate position, clearance, relative speed and the direction of movement of the pedestrian in order to determine the risk of collision. A visual signal in the instrument cluster and an acoustic signal warn the driver of potential danger.

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In addition, an automatic braking process is triggered when there is a risk of hitting a pedestrian or when there is a danger of a collision in city traffic. In these situations the MINI is slowed down with medium braking force. Depending on the situation, this helps avoid a collision, or reduces the gravity of the collision.

The speed limit info is a driver assist system that detects and displays the speed limits that apply. It takes into consideration data that is also registered by the camera mounted next to the rear view mirror and compares this with the data stored in the navigation system. The camera registers and considers speed limits that are shown on traffic signs and on bridges along motorways. The traffic signs are detected both in daylight and at night.

For maximum reliability, the system also evaluates additional data about the current time of day and the activity of the windscreen wiper in order to verify the speed limit. This means that restrictions that only apply to certain times of day or in wet conditions are also detected. For example, if the camera registers the regulation “80 km/h in wet conditions”, the MINI driver will only be warned of this speed limit if the rain sensors transmit a corresponding signal regarding the weather conditions, in other words if the additional condition “wet” is met. The same applies to speed limits that reflate to specific times of the day.

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In addition, the speed limit registered by the camera is compared with the information on the navigation system. This plausibility check enables incorrect displays to be largely avoided. The speed limit display appears on the instrument cluster and in the head-up display, if fitted, where it is shown as a graphic symbol of the corresponding traffic sign.

The traffic sign memory system enables the MINI driver to retain an overview despite the jungle of signs he encounters. The front camera on the internal mirror registers traffic signs along the road and the information derived from these is displayed in digitised form in the instrument cluster.

The driver is thus informed about the permitted maximum speed at all times. The system registers both static traffic signs and dynamic overhead displays on motorway bridges. The permissible maximum speed is displayed on the instrument cluster or in the head-up display. If some of the data is uncertain, for example because a sign was passed some time back and no new information is available, the traffic signs are greyed out on the display.

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As part of this function, the speed limit info system for MINI models is supplemented with a no passing display. The registered no passing rule is displayed in the same way as the speed limit by means of a traffic sign symbol until the symbol is changed or no longer applies. National differences in relation to symbols are taken into account. The system temporarily stores all data so that, for example, after a short break in driving followed by a restart the previous speed limits and no passing signs are immediately displayed again. Even additional pictograms that relate to heavy goods vehicles or vehicles with trailers, for example, are visually detected, verified and filtered out if found to be irrelevant.

MINI underlines its segment-leading position with the offer of an active speed and distance regulation. This increases driving comfort significantly because the driver no longer needs to keep such a close watch over distance or speed. This is particularly beneficial in heavy traffic and on busy roads with constantly changing speeds.

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A front camera detects the traffic situation and adapts driving speeds. The system can be used at speeds of 30 to 140 km/h and can, like conventional cruise control with brake function without a camera – be set to a pre- determined speed. In addition to the pre-defined preferred speed, the video- based version of the system also controls the distance from the vehicle in front in flowing traffic and is therefore an optimum complement for particularly comfortable driving.

Compliance with the required speed and the distance from the car in front is assured on the open road through the coordination of engine controller and brake regulation system. The maximum delay is limited to 2.5 m/s2. When the lane is free, the system largely operates like a conventional cruise control. However, if another car has been detected by the frontal camera as travelling at a slower speed, the video-based speed and distance control system adjusts to the distance by adapting the speed.

If the system is active, it accelerates or brakes briefly in line with comfort conditions. MINI drivers can intervene in the regulation system at any time by pressing the appropriate pedal, so that they maintain responsibility for their driving results. The system is automatically deactivated as soon as a preceding car drops to a speed lower than 30 km/h: At the same time, the driver is prompted by acoustic and visual signals in this situation to take over speed and distance regulation himself.

The frontal camera recognises preceding vehicles at a distance of up to 120 metres and the detection required for distance regulation by the system takes place at a distance of up to 90 metres. Unlike conventional radar technology, the camera-controlled assist system can also detect stationary vehicles and has good transverse resolution to enable it to detect vehicles that are swinging from side to side, enabling the driver to anticipate the need for particular care. In situations in which light and weather conditions do not allow objects to be identified reliably, the driver will receive a visual and acoustic signal.

When the system is active, the desired speed can be changed as required in increments of 1 km/h or 10 km/h using the buttons on the multifunctional steering wheel. There are four settings for the required distance from the car in front. This is selected using a control panel in the left spoke of the steering wheel. The selected speed is displayed digitally on the instrument cluster and, if active, the data can also be shown on the head-up display.

When it comes to finding a parking space, MINI drivers are at a huge advantage because of the size and agility of their car. The new park assist system makes MINI parking even easier.

The system helps the driver with parallel parking. It uses ultrasound sensors to measure possible parking spaces as it passes them. Parking spaces are registered at speeds of less than 35 km/h and a maximum distance of 1.5 metres from the row of parked cars. This takes place irrespective of whether the park assist has been activated. As soon as a sufficiently large parking space is found – vehicle length plus one metre manoeuvring space – and the system is active, the space will be displayed in the MINI central information display. The automatic parking sequence can then be started at the press of a button, the system will calculate the parking line and the car will park itself. The driver does not need to touch the steering wheel, and only needs to operate the accelerator and brake pedal.

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During the search for a parking space and the parking process, all the relevant information is displayed on the on-board monitor. The driver receives prompts to use the accelerator and brake on the display by means of acoustic signals. These are delivered by the park distance control included in the park assist equipment. This makes it especially easy to monitor the parking process and also to control the linear tracking.

There are two ways to activate the park assist function: either by switching on the system using one of the iconic MINI toggle switches; or once a parking space has been found shifting into reverse will bring up the park assist menu on the central display.

In addition to the park assist function, which uses ultrasound sensors to find a suitable parking space automatically and to steer the car into the space, MINI also has a rear view camera that simplifies parking and other manoeuvres. This system also provides greater safety and comfort when reversing.

During reverse parking, the almost invisible rear view camera under the tailgate handle offers MINI drivers the best possible view by projecting the image in the on-board monitor. Together with the rear park distance control, additional support is available when manoeuvring thanks to interactive track lines that indicate distance and turning circle. These also indicate whether the intended parking space has enough room for the car.

After appropriate configuration, the adjusted 120 degree wide-angle image supplied by the rear view camera is displayed in the operating system menu as soon as reverse gear is activated. This means that objects otherwise invisible to the driver can be reliably seen on the display. The wide-angle lens produces colour images with an optimum perspective, showing every hazard clearly in the central display.

MINI driver assist systems take the strain for the driver by allowing the technology to assume control of repetitive tasks. One example of this is the new digital headlight assist system which makes night driving more comfortable and safer. It is controlled by a camera on the windscreen at the same height as the rear view mirror which is used to check light conditions and traffic. At speeds of at least 50 km/h, full headlights are automatically activated and deactivated after oncoming or preceding traffic is detected.

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The camera registers the headlights of oncoming traffic at a distance of about 1,000 metres and the tail lights of preceding vehicles from a distance of around 500 metres. As soon as other road users can no longer be dazzled, the digital headlight assist system switches from dimmed headlights to full headlights. Automatic activation and deactivation optimises the use of full headlights. As a rule, this increases the use of full headlights, enabling obstacles and hazards to be identified more effectively.

The headlight assist system is switched by pressing a button located near the light operating panel and can be deactivated at any time by pressing the light control level on the steering column. The system increases safety both for the MINI driver and for other road users. The system also automatically switches off the full headlights in lit areas such as towns or residential developments.

Written By: Gabe

  • Se7en_speed

    ugh so that’s what the premium screen looks like? not much better than the smaller one..

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      The premium screen is the 8″ version pictured here.

      • lollol

        lol

      • youdeletedme

        trololol

      • Head Honcho

        When you say here. You mean this article? So 8 inch diagonal but only 3 inches tall?

        • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

          Why are you surprised? BMW has employed ultra-widescreen infotainment screens in its current generation cars so this is exactly as expected. If the premium system has an 8″ screen that will be substantially larger than the 6.5″ screen on the 3-series at the moment.

  • 3x mini owner

    The “heads-up” display is supremely disappointing. Windshield display would be much better.

    Many of the object avoidance features seem like they’d be great for terrible drivers.

  • otter

    Does anyone really need this much hand holding; and, if so should they be behind the wheel of an automobile?

    • Captain

      No, but at least the head’s up display and center stack tie out well with the super busy front end. Sigh.

    • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

      I agree that everyone should be able to parallel park on their own without ultrasonic sensors, but I gladly welcome some of the features such as the accident avoidance. There isn’t a week that goes by whereas there isn’t a rear-end collision somewhere along my commute, so there is definitely a need for warnings and last minute intervention as long as they do not lead the driver into a sense of blasé while driving (ala Mercedes S-class which pretty much steers itself and whereas its adaptive cruise control can be the car to a stop in traffic are start up again). The MINI has always been a car which demands attention when driving and if implemented correctly I think these could potentially save a number of accidents and potentially lives without distracting from the act of driving.

      • otter

        I am not knocking what you are saying; however, I have observed a substantial decline in people’s spatial reasoning abilities which has, in equal measure, eroded driving abilities. I am an aggressive speeder who has been driving for almost thirty years, logged nearly half a million miles in all kinds of vehicles and driving conditions; and, other than clipping a bollard in a parking lot, I’ve never had an accident. Several times a week I whiteness slow, hyper cautious drivers crawl their way into slow-motion accidents. My feeling is that nanny systems, an increase in mobile entertainment, and a general lack of interest in developing driving skills has led to a situation where a very significant percent of drivers are blatantly incompetent. The more we automate driving that less skilled drivers become thus requiring more automation. Being chauffeured by a computer sounds absolutely dreadful to me; but, it seems inevitable that the growing gap in driving abilities will require turning over control of the automobile to Google.

        • R.O

          Unfortunately I’m unable to vote your comment down. The reason I would have done that is for your comment “I am an aggressive speeder” For me that means your actions and decision to do so are as poor as drivers who drive poorly. By your admission you aggressively break the law by speeding which makes you a hazard to ours on the road.

          As for why people have eroding driving abilities or skills, it’s actually quite simple. In the US any Tom, Dick, Harry or Jane who has a license is allowed to try and teach others to drive. I’ve always been against that concept. Why, because the learner will be taught the teachers bad driving habits. That’s why we see poor driving skills and rabbits and eroding driving skills.

          I favor the German requirements. A person has to go to a certified driving school to be taught by a professional. The learner doesn’t only take driving lessons, they also have to attend classroom instructions on rules of the road, law, etc. Yes its more expensive but as so many people in the USA state over and over “Driving is a privilege, not a right”

        • otter

          I regretted the rather dramatic “aggressive speeder” bit from the time posted my comment. My intention was to point out that while I am usually in the 5mph over territory, which is about middle of the pack, there are a lot of drivers in my area who are routinely well under posted speeds who seem to forever be crashing into something. Yes, I am breaking the letter of law; but, I haven’t had a ticket in over six years or ever had an accident. I chalk this up to paying attention to what is going on around me, something I feel that nanny systems can cause a lack of. At any rate, I also like the German system; and, I find the the English system in which young drivers are restricted to small displacement engines to be interesting. A year of riding a small scooter really instills the value of keeping your focus on what is happening around you, been there done that.

        • Henry Mitchell

          Agressive speeder = Knob.

    • Shane

      This hits the nail on the head. We’re setting up a generation of the most un-engaged drivers from the road. Features like a back up camera are very useful, but when it comes to parking assist and some cars are automatically braking if you get too close to another car, where does it stop?

  • John McLauchlan

    BMW continues on their mission to distance the driver from the actual driving experience. This is evident when you read statements such as: “the driver no longer needs to keep such a close watch over distance or speed”…and… “MINI driver assist systems take the strain for the driver by allowing the technology to assume control”.

    I am not resistant to change and appreciate technology which adds convenience. However, when that technology is inserted between the driver and the controls of the car, it becomes more annoying than helpful. This is not what I want in a MINI.

    • Alexandre

      This is an interesting comment and I agree with parts of it. The good thing is that some of those options are optional and as such they should not prevent your from wanting a MINI. However, bear in mind that most commenters on MotoringFile and most hardcore MINI fans seem to be petrolheads/”drivers” while the most advanced safety and convenience features presented here were most likely developed with the rest of MINI’s target market in mind (i.e. people who just need a car to get from A to B). These customers probably represent (for better or for worse) MINI’s prime source of revenue and if the brand wants to remain competitive, it has to have these features on its option list. All that stuff will soon become standard on today’s cars.

      • Captain

        Too bad the center speedo is not an option. I actually do not love it today, but I like it more than the Franken-dash.

        • R.Burns

          On my R53 i am happy with the Chrono Pack and the speedo behind the steering wheel !

        • TO

          Will be interesting to see the after warranty costs of maintaining this technology.

      • John McLauchlan

        Thanks for the reply. Agree that these options can be omitted and also with your other comments.

        What drew me into the MINI brand initially was the driving experience. The exceptional feedback between car and driver was instantly intoxicating. The simplicity and purity of purpose were evident throughout. That core value is eroded when so much engineering goes into making the car autonomous (or closer to it).

        • Alexandre

          I understand your frustration but I’d wait to test drive the car before making an opinion. If I refer to Porsche fans for instance I’m sure they have the same worries each time a new generation of 911 comes out. Having driven the last four generations almost back-to-back, and while I’m by no mean a Porsche expert, I can attest the car is as good as it was 15 years ago (except maybe for the steering feeling). All in all test drive it as soon as it reaches your dealer then you’ll be in a better positon to make a judgement :)

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          I agree and disagree. I’m working on a piece for BimmerFile that explains my thoughts but the gist of it: if this tech is done right it allows for greater focus on driving and less on tertiary experiences. That’s BMWs philosophy. Just Not sure it comes through in releases like this.

        • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

          I’d have to disagree and say that it is too early to make the bold comment that the the core values of the brand are eroded due to the engineering of optional safety features. These are not newly engineered safety features unique to MINI. They are features which have been around on BMWs for some time and have already had the majority of their initial engineering costs paid for besides platform integration. Your comment that “so much engineering” went into the features suggests that very little engineering went into the driving experience. However we know that this platform was completely reengineered from the ground up in addition to the new engines which are more advanced and powerful than their predecessors. Only time and experience will tell what driving dynamics the F56 will hold. However if you want a more “pure” driving experience, then don’t buy any of these optional features. As more and more small cars are adopting similar safety features available from other models, do not expect to be able to simply jump to another compact car without being in the same predicament.

        • John McLauchlan

          Yes, I am very familiar with these features in BMW (have owned 4 generations going back over a decade). My point is that MINI was different initially, a more pure driving experience with a unique approach and character. This differentiated it from BMW at the time. I liked having all of the high tech in my BMWs and having a simpler car with my MINIs.

          You are making my point in that MINI is now offering what every other BMW has (referring to Driver Assist) as well as other brands. I totally understand why, with the shared platforms and engineering costs. Just pointing out that this is no longer being “Not Normal”, and continues to move the car away from the simplicity which first got me hooked on the brand and made it different from a BMW.

        • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

          I completely disagree with your belief that MINI was simplier and more differentiated from BMW when the new generation in 2000 was unveiled. I had a 2003 so I’m well aware. It was referred to as a premium compact car with BMW-like levels of performance and technology. Very few compact cars at the time in the early 2000s had optional features such as heated seats, GPS navigation, xenon lights, backup sensors, panoramic glass roof, rain-sensing wipers, heated seats, etc… Our local dealership went as far as to show BMW logos on parts when customer were looking at new cars. Just like in the first gen if you didn’t want Xenons, GPS, heated seats, backup cameras, the glass roof, rain-sending wipers, etc you didn’t have to option them. MINIs have always had near-BMW levels of optional features which will remain just that on the F56: optional features. The ability to customize you MINI exactly to your specifications and only get what you want or not is part of what makes the brand “Not Normal”.

    • TheWuWu

      I’m an advocate for cars being all about the raw drivability in the streets. But I also think one of the beauties with MINI is that drivability is always there and always appears to be the number 1 focus. All these toys and gizmos have always had the ability to be ordered à la carte!

      • John McLauchlan

        Hope you are correct, and definitely look forward to a test drive in the new F56. The adjustable suspension dampers are going to be a huge improvement, as well as the lighter and more powerful B37/B38 engines.

  • Alexandre

    Also I may be wrong, but I think we see the Light Ring in action on this picture. Look closely, it’s kind of purple-ish: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2014-mini-cooper-spy-shots/#photo-142794/

    • les

      Good catch!

  • Head Honcho

    And the people that can’t drive and need all of these features will be taking their cars in and saying it is braking and accelerating on its own.

  • http://www.mynameisjay.com/ Jay

    You guys are impossible to please. This stuff is really compelling. My Clubman is only 2 years old. It has MINI Connected already, but I’ll be salivating over this when it comes out.

  • Aurel

    Well I guess after 2 years I can come out and say that I was one of the few testing this new system in the early days of the F56 development. Frankly I was blown away of what it can do and the actual simplicity of it (for me anyway as I am pretty techy)

    What I mentioned to them when I was testing it was the fact that I was not sure the target market for these features are people that really need more tech when they are behind the wheel. Presumably they are people that are easily distracted already and need more “assistance” in daily driving but not sure tech like this is the real answer.

    Personally, I would skip it but there will be a HUGE market for this.

    As far as the rest of the interior … it’s going to kick ass! :)

    • Alexandre

      Just out of curiosity can you tell in what capacity you were testing the new system?

      • Aurel

        It was in the early stages and it was in a simulated driving environment of a retooled interior of an R55 shell but it had all the early workings of the “light ring” and the new interior … at least the new position of the switches, start button, etc. Let’s just put it this way, even as raw as it was it already gave the car a very hi tech feel, but still very sporty and organic.

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          I any stress this enough – the final version in use is very compelling. It feels premium and hi-tech without being gimmicky.

  • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

    So no Active Blind Spot Detection? Although changing lanes in a MINI is as easy as pie, I’m surprised not to see this as an option. It seems to be relative easy to implement and is available on many competitors.

    • tobi

      :( i was looking for this too…

      • http://about.me/jasonrwilliams Jason Williams

        It’s not really needed for the hatchback (although would be appreciated), but when the F56 platform spawns the cabrio and perhaps a coupe/roadster, blind spot monitoring will be much more important given their large blind spots! Let’s hope it will be added as an option across the range then.

  • les

    This is all very cool stuff. I’m not sure if I would spec a MINI with anything other than MINI Connected (the big screen version with nav), but it cool to see a bunch of 7 series tech fitted to a MINI.

  • bhindher

    No mention if other phones will work with Mini Connected. Maybe they should’ve figured that out first, not every Mini owner uses an iPhone.

    • nervous

      Ugh. Let’s hope that NO phones work in this car – or any other car, for that matter.

    • b-

      No, not everyone owns an iPhone but Apple is the easiest for BMW/MINI to work with. Android is SO fragmented when it comes to hardware and software that MINI would have to do so much more to get this working with all the flavors of the OS, all the hardware and all the carriers.

      • Chuck Jr.

        They don’t have to cover every Android OS version. ICS and JB account for 61.2% of the Android platform at the moment, and my guess would be that anyone buying a MINI with these add-ons are probably using a recent Android device with JB. From the app point of view (since this is practically an app linking the phone and the features of the car), I don’t remember any of my apps being “not compatible” when the Android version was updated.

        “Android is SO fragmented when it comes to hardware and software” is such a canned/ignorant response.

        • tobi

          4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and now 4.4 (i’m stuck at 4.1 with my xperia SP)

          S600, S800, quad core, octo-core, tegra, S4,.. andreno 305, 320 and now 330, mali, etc.. touchwizz, google stock, sense 5.0, etc..

          yes, android is not fragmented at all :rollingeye:

    • RakSiam

      Well, it is possible to use some features of MINI Connected with Android phones already.

      Is this system going to report to your car insurance company how much you have been driving over the speed limit? :-)

  • JonPD

    Don’t get me wrong as this si some cool tech. However sytems to help you maintain safe following distance, when its safe to pass, utlasonic parking sensors, and camera’s etc to me will never be much more than to remove the driver of a car further and further from the base act of driving. I know many will see these items as adding to the pleaure of driving a MINI but still have to admit as much as the tech is cool I sigh knowing this is likely to do anything positive for the typically poor driving skills in the US (yes even happens in MINIs).

  • jbkone

    I LOVE all this new tech, BUT I probably won’t use most of it. I don’t really want a heads-up display. I don’t want a screen in the dash – could I retrofit a center speedo in? ;) I think the auto-cruise control is fantastic, but I’d probably override it all the time zipping through traffic. It can park itself? That’s amazing! I’d let it tell me where the MINI would fit – that’s the hardest part about tight parking spots – and then I’d do it myself. I get off parking my MINI where people don’t think I can. I’m famous for “inventing parking spots”. :) Accident avoidance and pedestrian identification is awesome. I live where there aren’t any pedestrians and almost ran over someone when I was driving in a city: I looked left, nothing, I looked right, nothing, and started moving only to look up and there was a guy walking in front of my car. Definitely my fault, but a warning system would be great. A rear camera is probably a good idea if people don’t rely TOO MUCH on it and continue looking around their car before reversing. How many times is the only danger right behind you? AND it’s all optional? The best part! But can I get the center speedo please? PLEASE???? They should have at least developed a round screen for that hole in the dash.

    • RakSiam

      Doesn’t the automatic parking system require an enormous space though? Something like 1.5m bigger than the car? I thought I read that in an earlier release. If you can’t parallel park in a space that big you probably shouldn’t be driving.

      • jbkone

        Vehicle length + 1M. that’s only about 3 extra feet. that’s a tight spot at only 1.5 feet in front and behind.

  • planeguy96

    I am always a little baffled by the anti-tech crowd…..I like driving, when the road has curves and there is no traffic, I want a manual transmission in my right hand and horsepower under my foot…..No technology enhances that experience, but this circumstance is rare. When I have to drive on the streets within the speed limits dodging pedestrians and bad drivers I would rather be driven than be the driver…There is nothing inherently pleasuable in the stop and go experience. If I engage in the experience and lets just say I drive with some passion and intention then everyone else on the road has lots of names to call me….So, Just give me the autopilot feature and I will just be here reading car and driver until the car needs me and if I find my self on a track or in the twisties with a clear path then I will flip a switch and put the power down!

  • nervous

    Any pricing hints/leaks on these wizbang options?

  • coel

    At least I’m happy the display (likely the “XL” one only) isn’t rectangle making the circular shape of the center piece absolutely meaningless (I know it’s a stretch tho).

  • Bmwmike

    Don’t know if you missed it, but the rear view mirror is now in a similar r58 and r59 design, maybe that means official MINI mirror caps for the Coupe and roadster. Look like a small bump in the f56 deign also. So not 100% here.

    The rear seats all so have a third fold down , looks like tri- split.

    Looks like the rear badge into the handle might be detachable.

    I bet the ring light will function with the interior ambient lighting. Which might have a off button. Hoping the light ring can then match the ambient . Then when in an emergency it will change color as a warning, just the ring of course.

    But these are a guess.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      Would love to confirm some of this but can’t comment on anything that hasn’t been released yet.

      • Bmwmike

        The pictures confirm it visually ;) and my past knowledge of parts. I know you have to wait Gabe , like ordering a new MINI . The wait can be the most exciting.

        Also can tell the part for the overhead light looks to be the same with the two lights and toggle of course they will match the toggle below.

        Also on start up the center ring light should follow the current light up flip through color spectrum.

        Hope the the shift light I have seen on the tach is there. You never know till final production. Since they killed the one for the R56 platform only the Gen 1 still has it.

        Bolster of the seats look wider. And seats headrest more square.

        Also hope the program for the connect has rally mode or something close to it.

        I bet you would like to tell us :) Teaser photo?

        • Bmwmike

          Oh and the back up lights are now back in the taillight. Hope no more wiring changes for Cooper S vs JCW like we saw on the LCI R56 ;)

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          You’re guesses are good. Some off and some on the money. You’ll have to wait until 11/18…

        • Bmwmike

          I will take the gamble. But the odds are I am correct ;) I have some other guesses but I can’t give all the secrets. :)

    • rlb

      Hmmm. I see what you’re saying about the tri-split seat. I can see it clearly in the interior spy pics from China. I didn’t notice that before.

      • Bmwmike

        I know ;)

  • LeeL

    Pretty cool stuff. Personally I like the speed limit recognition as some interstates around here it seems like forever between signs. In my wife’s Jeep it shows up on the Nav and I’ve been surprised how handy it’s been. Then again that system probably will not work in the US.

  • Rob Rudorf

    At the risk of sounding like a nut I’ll say it again…i don’t want nor will i buy a $40k MINI with all the gee whiz electronics and nannies. Please provide me a driver’s car. The BMW 320i with the sport package and manual transmission is around $36 +/-. I will certainly look at very closely in the spring when my lease is up.

  • Chris

    Ugh. Where is my center speedo!!!???

  • mike

    I want a car not an ipad…..


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F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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