Design | BMW Celebrates Its Centennial With AI-Powered Autonomous “Vision Next 100” Concept

March 7, 2016  |  Design, Tech

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To celebrate the pioneering German aircraft engine maker-turned motorcycle manufacturer-turned top-$elling luxury car marque, BMW, the brand has manifested its prediction of what a motoring experience will look like a century from now with its new BMW Vision Next 100 concept. Unveiled today at the company’s centenary celebration kickoff event, the elegantly-designed, yet clumsily named vehicle is a sedan in the copper-toned skin of a sports coupe whose driver interface will be customizable and powered by formidable next-next-next gen AI for the ultimate in autonomous driving.

In the view of BMW brass, in the future, “premium mobility by the BMW Group will be completely effortless, comprehensively available and tailored to every customer’s individual preferences. At the moment, the world is on the verge of realising automated driving; in the not-too-distant future the majority of cars will probably be completely self-driving and travel the streets of cities inhabited by far more people than today.”

To that end, driver-vehicle interactions in the Vision Next 100 are managed by Alive Geometry (a futuristic fabrication technology featuring a body composed of shape-shifting triangles); Boost and Ease modes offer a choice of driver-controlled or vehicle-controlled operations, and the interior of the vehicle changes to suit the mode of travel. In Boost, the entire vehicle focuses on the driver, offering the support needed to maximise the driving experience – for instance by indicating the ideal driving line, steering point and speed using the entire windshield as a heads-up display monitor.

Ease mode sees the interior transform: the steering wheel and centre console retract; the headrests turn to the side, and the seats and door trim merge to form a lounge area so that the driver and front-seat passenger can turn towards each other.

In addition, taking a design cue from Tron, the vehicle features flexible panels that cover all four wheels to provide maximum aerodynamics and flex with the car’s steering to allow for unfettered movement.

Explains said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, when questioned about his team’s intent in designing the vehicle, “if, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality. So our objective with the Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with.” Added Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, “In the future, one thing will be in ever shorter supply: time. But connectivity will become increasingly commonplace, and technologies will learn to learn from people. “Future mobility will connect every area of people’s lives. And that’s where we see new opportunities for premium mobility.”

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