We thought BMW simply provided transportation at the Olympics, but apparently, they do a lot more – like training long-jumpers.

According to a feature on Translogic, BMW cameras being developed to help prevent car accidents are also being used to analyse the speed of long-jumpers in both the horizontal and vertical planes.

It does this by tracking the jumper in three dimensions, using technology that BMW is developing for crash avoidance systems. There are already systems that automatically stop the car in urban situations if it gets too close to an object in front of the car. However, a fast moving pedestrian (say a child running into the road), especially in darkness, is not always going to be picked up by current systems, which are intended primarily to stop a car bumping into the car in front.

Now car manufacturers are working on the next generation of systems that can not only spot hazards moving perpendicular to the car, but can take automatic evasive action. The driver can easily miss a small child running across a pavement towards the road, but the stereo camera system (in BMW's case two simple webcams) is on perpetual watch for such events.

As Translogic says, we have seen technology move from the track to the road before, but we have never seen it move from the road to a track.