BMW has included a speed camera warning function in its major software update. U.S. customers can unlock it for a fee.
BMW recently applied a major software update wirelessly to its vehicles. Among other things, this involved implementing Android Auto, an improved navigation system and optimized parking space and charging station search. BMW is also testing services that can be activated by subscription with the update, such as the activation of seat heating in the winter months.
The BMW system can only detect mobile speed cameras if users have previously reported them to Here via the app.
Not with its own detector technology
But BMW has also included a speed camera warning function called “Traffic Camera Information” in the update. This feature can be unlocked for a fee in the US. The system shows the positions of the speed cameras on the instrument screen and via the head-up display. BMW obtains the necessary data from Here maps – the map service was purchased by BMW together with Mercedes and Audi at the end of 2015. The map material is also updated by users who report speed cameras via the app. Reports in the U.S. media sometimes give the impression that BMW additionally equips its vehicles with radar and laser detectors – this is not correct, as BMW confirmed to us upon request. Such special technical equipment would make no business sense for the Bavarians in the markets where these devices would be permitted.
The services are free of charge for the first three months after the new car is purchased. After that, BMW charges $25 (currently around 21 euros) for each 15-month period.
Technology banned almost throughout Europe
German customers need not hold out any hope for the new BMW speed camera warning technology: both the use of automated biltzer warnings via navi or app and only the carrying of operational technical devices, such as radar or laser detectors, are prohibited in this country. If the police catch a driver using a speed camera app or carrying an operational detector, the penalty is a fine of 75 euros, a point in Flensburg and confiscation of the detector with subsequent destruction. In almost all other European countries, the penalties are much more severe: fines of up to 5,000 euros, immediate driving bans, confiscation of the vehicle and imprisonment make it clear how undesirable the use of speed camera detectors is in Europe. Only Romania does not yet have a regulation – although proposals for bans are also under discussion there.