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BMWs to warn of 'ghost drivers'

2007-11-21 07:56
BMW is working on an electronic system warning the motorist of so-called "ghost drivers" coming at them from the wrong direction of the motorway.

Perceived by many drivers as the worst thing that can happen on the road, Germany`s radio stations annually report 1 800 such "Geisterfahrer" incidents on the autobahn or motorways.

Traffic researchers have found that most people driving in the wrong direction do so unintentionally because of stress, disorientation and poor visibility, BMW said in a press release.

However, a third of all the ghost drivers were found to be under the influence of alcohol, leaving other motorists only a split second to react.

Based on such data BMW researchers have combined driver assistance systems to avoid the often fatal head-on collisions caused by ghost drivers.

If a driver steers the car onto the wrong direction of the road he is warned with an acoustic signal. It also picks up information on a ghost driver coming up ahead warning other traffic participants via car-to-car communication.

The report is also sent to a service centre which can pass the report directly to police or the media and radio traffic information.

The navigation system registers the position, speed and direction of the ghost driver, passing the information to the driver in the head-up display. The acoustic and visual signals are staged from a ghost driver "in the vicinity" to car coming up "right ahead".

"Valuable minutes where nobody has yet seen the ghost driver are won and the reporting chain is reduced,"according to BMW


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