NEW YORK – Recently launched in the all-new 7-Series in Europe, Autoliv Inc.’s second-generation night-vision system will make its U.S. debut this spring when BMW AG’s flagship sedan goes on sale here.

In Europe, the night-vision take rate is running close to 30%, says Stuart Klapper, managing director of Autoliv’s night-vision operations. “That’s 300% over our targets,” he says. “Right now it’s running much higher than our sales plan.”

Price of the option in Europe is €2,200 ($3,069).

The chief innovation in Autoliv’s revised technology is a driver-friendly pedestrian-detection feature.

The system’s infrared camera constantly monitors the road ahead and sends data to an electronic control unit that also is built by Autoliv in Linkoping, Sweden. The ECU, which is dedicated for the night-vision functions, uses proprietary algorithms to identify pedestrians in the path of the moving vehicle.

If the computer determines there is a probability of a collision with a pedestrian, a bright yellow light flashes on the navigation display to capture the driver’s attention 2 to 4 seconds before a potential impact. Klapper says that gives a driver sufficient time to apply the vehicle’s brakes and maneuver around the pedestrian.

BMW engineers provided a better spot to house the camera than with the first-generation system. The camera now is located in the 7-Series’ kidney-shaped grille, rather than its bumper, an elevated position that provides a better view of the road ahead.

The camera, which Autoliv assembles in its Goleta, CA, facility, is much improved, Klapper says, and can “see” 50% further down the road than the first-generation unit.

The system’s black-and-white monitor is located in the center of the cockpit, just above the car’s iDrive screen. There also is a head-up display projected ahead of the driver.

Klapper says the new night-vision system is exclusive to BMW now, but three other auto makers in Europe and one in Japan are interested in adding the Autoliv technology to their vehicles.

He also says BMW plans to offer night vision on other models.

Klapper declines to forecast Autoliv’s night-vision volume for 2009.

“But we will be selling hundreds of thousands of night-vision systems annually in five years,” he predicts.