BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant: Ultimate Guide

Traffic congestion is one of the most significant challenges faced by drivers in urban environments. The stop-and-go nature of traffic jams can lead to driver fatigue and stress. BMW, a pioneer in automotive innovation, has introduced the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, a semi-autonomous driving system designed to alleviate the stress of navigating through heavy traffic.

Understanding the BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant

The BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant is part of BMW’s Driving Assistant Professional package, a comprehensive suite of safety and convenience features. The system is designed to provide semi-autonomous driving support in specific traffic situations, making bumper-to-bumper traffic less taxing for the driver.

How the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant Works

The Extended Traffic Jam Assistant is designed to operate on limited-access highways at speeds up to 37 mph. When activated, the system takes over the steering, acceleration, and braking of the vehicle, following the traffic flow and maintaining the vehicle in its lane. This allows the driver to relax their hands and attentively supervise the system’s operation.

The BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant relies on a complex interplay of sensors, cameras, and intelligent software to function:

1. Sensing the Environment: The system uses a combination of radar sensors and a front-facing camera mounted on the windshield to sense the car’s surroundings. These sensors detect vehicles in front, behind, and to the sides of the car, as well as lane markings on the road.

2. Controlling the Vehicle: When activated and within its operational speed (up to 37 mph), the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant can control the vehicle’s steering, acceleration, and braking. It keeps the car in its lane, maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and follows the flow of traffic. If the car in front slows down or stops, the system will slow down or stop your vehicle. When traffic begins moving again, the system will also start moving the vehicle, keeping with the traffic flow.

3. Monitoring the Driver: The system includes a camera-based driver monitoring system. This camera, located on the instrument panel, checks that the driver is paying attention to the road. If the driver’s attention is diverted for an extended period, the system will issue an alert, prompting the driver to refocus on the road. If the driver does not respond to repeated alerts, the system will assume the driver is incapacitated and bring the vehicle to a stop in its lane and activate the hazard lights.

4. Handing Back Control: The system will also hand back control to the driver when the traffic situation becomes more complex, the car’s speed exceeds the system’s operational range, or if the driver starts to take active control.

The Extended Traffic Jam Assistant is a Level 2 autonomous driving system, meaning that it can control the vehicle under specific circumstances, but the driver must remain alert and ready to take over at all times. It’s designed to make driving in heavy traffic less strenuous, but it’s not a fully autonomous driving system. The driver is always ultimately responsible for the control of the vehicle.

Benefits of the BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant

Reduced Stress: By handling the monotony of stop-and-go traffic, the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant helps reduce driver stress and fatigue.

Increased Safety: The system continuously monitors the surroundings and can react to traffic situations faster than a human driver, potentially preventing accidents.

Enhanced Comfort: In heavy traffic, frequent braking and acceleration can lead to an uncomfortable ride. By controlling these elements, the system ensures a smoother, more comfortable driving experience.

A Step Towards Autonomous Driving

While the BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant doesn’t make the car fully autonomous, it represents a significant step towards semi-autonomous driving. Taking over the controls in specific driving situations, it allows drivers to experience the benefits of autonomous technology, making driving safer and more enjoyable.


In conclusion, the BMW Extended Traffic Jam Assistant is a testament to BMW’s commitment to enhancing the driving experience through innovative technology. It addresses one of the most frustrating aspects of driving – navigating through heavy traffic – and turns it into a more relaxed and comfortable experience. As we look forward to a future where autonomous driving becomes the norm, systems like the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant provide a glimpse of what’s to come.

Georg Meier

BMW technician since 1996, began his automotive journey in 1993 as an apprentice mechanic at Automag, the world's oldest BMW dealership located in Munich. With years of experience and dedication under his belt, Georg has garnered a wealth of knowledge about the intricacies of BMW vehicles. His profound love for the brand led him to found BIMMERIST website, where he now shares his expertise and insights with fellow enthusiasts.

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