German automaker BMW is sharing its vision of the brand’s future.
As part of its celebration of its centennial (see story), BMW is revealing its vision for what its vehicles will be capable of in the future. The Vision Next 100 stays focused on the “sheer driving pleasure” that helps define the brand while seamlessly incorporating technology to enhance the experience.
“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. “So our objective with the BMW Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with.
“Technology is going to make significant advances, opening up fantastic new possibilities that will allow us to offer the driver even more assistance for an even more intense driving experience,” he said. “My personal view is that technology should be as intuitive as possible to operate and experience so that future interactions between human, machine and surroundings become seamless.
The BMW Vision Next 100 shows how we intend to shape this future.”
The next 100
In visualizing its next century, BMW identified a handful of major trends that it will have to incorporate: new forms and access of mobility, constant connectivity, the acceleration of technology, the move to emissions-free energy and a growing sense of social responsibility.
With autonomous-driving vehicles poised to take over the roads surely but slowly, BMW’s vision is highly personalized to counter the anonymity of mass, autonomous transport. Chief among the proposals underpinning the BMW Vision Next 100 is that “a genuine BMW is always driver-focused.”
As such, the BMW Vision Next 100 will retain the option of allowing the driver to maneuver the vehicle. BMW also anticipates artificial intelligence and intuitive technology merging, allowing background tasks – presumably climate control, seat adjustments and other such elements – to be handled automatically.
BMW also sees in the use of carbon today the possibility of steel becoming obsolete. The BMW Vision Next 100 will take advantage of rapid manufacturing and 4D printing technologies that will materials that could revolutionize demand and engineering.
BMW began its design from the interior, showcasing its emphasis on the well-being of the driver. The Vision Next 100 will have a particularly spacious interior during the “Ease” mode, in which the vehicle drives autonomously.
In Boost mode, where the driver takes the wheel, the vehicle will offer subtle and intuitive support based on the sensory and digital intelligence and the virtual companion. In Ease mode, the lighting shifts, the steering wheel and center console retract and the vehicle drives itself.
The vehicle will also communicate with the driver through the Alive Geometry innovation, three-dimensional moving triangles that offer intuitive, gestural communication. Alive Geometry will also predict events in real time, helping to prevent accidents.
These features and the vehicle design are shown off in a reveal trailer, which begins with a feather floating in space before taking the viewer into the vehicle.
The vehicle is shown driving itself as the owner folds a paper bird, meant to resemble the Alive Geometry figures. The steering wheel, horizontal rather than circular, emerges as the driver enters Boost Mode.
BMW Vision Next 100 – Reveal Trailer
The car drives along an empty road, and then the doors open upward to allow the driver to make exiting the vehicle more convenient than ever.
Steps in the right direction
Other brands in the BMW Group have revealed similar plans.
For example, British automaker Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is preparing to revolutionize the future of mobility.
At an event at the London Roundhouse on June 16, the BMW AG subsidiary unveiled its Vision Next 100 plans for the next century, embodied by a “vision vehicle” codenamed 103EX. The Vision Next 100 shows both a lineage with and adherence to the Rolls-Royce heritage and a transformation into a luxury concept that goes beyond automobiles (see story).
The BMW brand, meanwhile, is already making progress toward the connected future it envisions.
Last month, BMW expanded its ConnectedDrive Online Entertainment with the introduction of audio and music streaming service Deezer.
Deezer joins Napster, giving consumers access to an on-demand library of 35 million tracks and 100 million playlists, allowing consumers to enjoy music in their vehicles without needing an accompanying mobile device. Boosting its ConnectedDrive service, BMW is also rolling out solutions to remotely control everything from parking to the car owner’s house (see story).