BMW Vision Next 100 Is a Bold Foray Into The Future Of Car Technology

BMW turned 100 years, a feat that only a handful companies achieved, and as a way of celebrating this exceptional achievement they presented a concept showing how the future of cars might look like. The concept is named BMW Vision Next 100, and while it has that familiar BMW form, it is still something that looks like it came from the 22nd century.

081_Visionfahrzeug_BMW

Image courtesy of BMW

There are many interesting parts of the picture, but the first thing that piques your interest is the Companion, a car’s “digital intelligence”, or in other words Cortana, Siri, or Google Now of the 2116. The Companion is a concept of how artificial intelligence can be used in the future; it learns from user’s habits, can drive the car if needed, and is capable of even performing some tasks, like letting know pedestrians that they can cross the road. It sits at the center of dashboard and looks like a big, bright diamond, a design similar to what AI cores have been imagined in SF culture, and a perfect representation of potential connection between driver and the car in future, where there are no boundaries between the two.

The Companion

Image courtesy of BMW

In BMW’s vision of the future, driver still can take steering wheel in his hands and control the car, or he can sit back, relax and let the companion do all the driving. Two modes are called “Boost”, a mode where human driver is at the helm, and “Ease” where steering wheel retracts into the dashboard, and “the Companion takes over all driving tasks and the interior is transformed into an individual comfort zone.” Two front seats move a little bit easing the conversation between driver and co-driver while the Companion drives.

 

The windscreen is a huge augmented reality display. It can show the driver the route, speed, various signals, and in Ease mode, windscreen serves as the entertainment center. Car’s “Alive Geometry” design completely transforms the dashboard. There are no displays (all of them can be projected on windscreen), just 800 triangles that can move and can emit light, providing an analogue addition to car’s digital AR windscreen. Just look at the picture bellow.

AR Windscreen

Image courtesy of BMW

Alive Geometry is also shown on the wheel-covering panels; they can adjust to the outside conditions and provide maximal aerodynamics at all times. BMW also thinks that the new way of manufacturing materials, 4D printing, will replace traditional manufacturing in the future. 4D printing is described as way of printing cars ‘components that are fully functional from the start. The car is described as “emission free” so either it is imagined as an electric or hydrogen powered vehicle.

Steering wheel

Image courtesy of BMW

Exterior design has that well-known BMW front shape; other parts of the car look futuristic enough to be seen as a progressive piece of design, but have enough classic lines to make us wander how it would be to drive the car. BMW showed us how the future might look like, and while this design prototype will probably never see the light of day, parts of it will surely be used in future models. The Companion is the most interesting thing about it, giving us a vision of how interaction between human and future AI could look like.

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