The world of the internet has been unarguably brilliant. Instant communication, the building of some of the greatest communities in the world… but negative side effects of this technology are clear as day. BMW has chosen to embrace one of these side effects by adding a paywall to its very own vehicles.
For over ten years BMW has given its cars a high beam assistant. It’s simply a sensor that senses large amounts of light ahead of the car, and once it thinks there’s another car in front of you with its headlights on, it automatically dims your own lights so as to not blind other road users. It’s pretty simple.
Now, it’s charging drivers to use that safety feature, which is uploaded into the car via an over-the-air update. The thing is, the car already has all of the technology built into it. It already has the sensors and the wiring. It even has the button to turn it on and off!
But no. Twitter user and Car Magazine Editor Jake Groves posted about it:
For reference, this is the original pop up message I got on the system – couldn't snap it last night as I was mid-drive. BMW store says it's £160 for "unlimited" use… pic.twitter.com/zLbkuktEwV
— Jake Groves (@_jakegroves) March 25, 2021
How crazy is that??
Yes, £160 may not be a huge amount of money for someone who’s just purchased a new BMW. But why would the owner care if other people are getting blinded by their headlights? Automatic headlight dimming isn’t a safety feature for the driver, it’s a safety feature for other drivers on the road. So making this a purchase that the driver has to make is completely ridiculous.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot to dip your own high beams manually. But will this type of business creep into other car technology? Will we eventually be charged for wanting to heat our seats or use Apple CarPlay? Oh, wait.