SOURCE: BMW Group

Mega Media Worldwide

March 07, 2016 13:45 ET

BMW Unveils Vision Vehicle to Mark Their Centenary

BMW Group Unveils a Vision Vehicle Created by Their Core Brand BMW

MUNICH, GERMANY--(Marketwired - March 07, 2016) - Named the BMW VISION NEXT 100, the reveal at a spectacular event in Munich was the culmination of the company's thinking on the future of mobility well beyond the immediate short-term.

Further Vision Vehicles for the BMW Group's British-based brands, MINI and Rolls-Royce, will be unveiled in London in June. Later in 2016 in Los Angeles, the company's motorcycling arm, BMW Motorrad, will reveal a fourth Vision Vehicle.

The BMW Group's vision is that mobility will become completely effortless, comprehensively available on demand and tailored to every customer's individual preferences as we all seek higher-quality transport experiences.

In developing the BMW VISION NEXT 100, the main objective was to create not an anonymous vehicle but one that is highly personalized and fully geared to meet the driver's every need, retaining the emotional connection with its driver that has always been at a BMW's core.

Driver-vehicle interactions are managed by "Alive Geometry"; "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 maximize the driving experience -- for instance by indicating the ideal driving line, steering point and speed. Ease mode sees the interior transform: the steering wheel and center console retract; the headrests turn to the side, and the seats and door trim merge to form a single unit so that the driver and front-seat passenger can turn towards each other.

FOOTAGE

The following is available free of charge and with no copyright restrictions for TV stations and websites:

  • B-Roll containing significant archive footage of 63 milestones, B-Roll featuring the announcements and key highlights from the Centenary Celebration event are available at www.press.bmwgroup.com.

BMW GROUP IN USA

BMW was established in New Jersey in 1975. Now, BMW Group provides and supports approximately 70,000 jobs in the U.S. including their dealer network and suppliers. There are 339 BMW, 123 MINI, 36 Rolls-Royce and 149 motorcycle dealers.

BMW was the best-selling premium automotive brand in the US in 2015, selling a total of 404,537 BMWs and MINIs.

With more than 20 years of production, BMW Manufacturing plant Spartanburg manufactures more than 1,300 BMW vehicles every day. Following an additional $1 billion investment announced in March 2014, plant capacity will increase to 450,000 vehicles per year by 2016, making it the largest BMW production plant in the world.

In March 2015, Plant Spartanburg produced its 3 millionth vehicle since the start of production in 1994.

MORE DETAILS ON THE VISION VEHICLE

Four key factors underpin the BMW VISION NEXT 100

A genuine BMW is always driver-focused.

For autonomous driving, it's no longer a question of 'if' but 'when'. The BMW Group believes that BMW drivers will let their cars do the work -- but only when the driver wants. The BMW VISION NEXT 100 remains a genuine BMW, offering an intense experience of Sheer Driving Pleasure.

Artificial intelligence and intuitive technology become one.

Artificial intelligence will learn from us, anticipating many of our wishes and working away in the background to perform the jobs we delegate to it. The way humans and technologies interact will be transformed: screens and touchscreens will be replaced by more intuitive forms of human-machine communication and interaction. Better yet: technology will become more human.

New materials open up breathtaking opportunities.

In the future, how will cars be manufactured? At some point, presses that punch out hundreds of thousands of steel parts may well become obsolete -- the use of carbon may already be a first indication of the sea-change that is imminent in the world of automotive materials and production. Technologies such as rapid manufacturing and 4D printing will produce not components or objects but intelligent, networked materials and could soon replace conventional tools to open up unimagined possibilities in design and engineering.

Mobility will remain an emotional experience.

BMW vehicles have never been a means of getting from one place to the next. Far more, a BMW is about looking to the next bend in the road, feeling the power of the engine and enjoying the sense of speed; it's about the sensory experience, the adrenaline rush or that intimate moment at which a journey begins. Moving into the future, that's not set to change -- because the emotional experience of mobility is firmly fixed in our collective corporate memory. By keeping the driver firmly in the foreground, the BMW VISION NEXT 100 will heighten this emotional experience in an unprecedented way.

BMW VISION NEXT 100: A vehicle for future mobility.

  • From driver to "Ultimate Driver" -- through digital intelligence.
  • "Alive Geometry" enables intuitive driver-vehicle interaction.
  • "Boost" and "Ease" driving modes enable driver- or vehicle-controlled operation.
  • "Companion": The intelligent digital partner connects driver and car.
  • Trademark BMW exterior.
  • Materials of the future.

From driver to Ultimate Driver -- through digital intelligence.

In the future, BMW drivers will still want to spend most of the time they are in their car at the wheel. In the BMW VISION NEXT 100, the driver will remain firmly in the focus, with constant connectivity, digital intelligence and state-of-the-art technologies available for support. But the BMW VISION NEXT 100 will turn the driver into the Ultimate Driver. So even though the world may well be changing, Sheer Driving Pleasure is here to stay -- and will be more intense than ever before.

In designing the BMW VISION NEXT 100, the starting point was the interior. In the years ahead, the driver's wellbeing will become increasingly important, and rather than merely feeling they are in a machine that drives itself, they should sense that they are sitting in one that was specifically designed for them. This idea gave rise to an architecture in which the cab seems particularly spacious compared with the overall size of the vehicle while retaining the typical exterior lines of a BMW. Despite its domed interior, the BMW VISION NEXT 100 retains the instantly recognizable athletic silhouette of a BMW saloon.

The design of the interior permits various modes of operation: Boost mode, in which the driver is at the controls, and Ease mode, in which the driver can sit back and let the vehicle take over.

In Ease, the vehicle becomes a place of retreat with plenty of space, agreeable lighting and a comfortable atmosphere. In Boost, the driver takes over and benefits from the subtle and intuitive support offered by the vehicle. All the time, the vehicle is learning more and more about the person at the wheel, thanks to its sensory and digital intelligence, which the BMW Group calls the Companion. The Companion progressively learns to offer the right kind of support to transform the driver into the Ultimate Driver.

A very important element of the Vision Vehicle is another innovation known as Alive Geometry, the likes of which have never before been seen in a car. It consists of a kind of three-dimensional sculpture that works both inside and outside the vehicle.

Alive Geometry enables driver-vehicle interaction.

Alive Geometry consists of almost 800 moving triangles which are set into the instrument panel and into certain areas of the side panels. They work in three dimensions, communicating very directly with the driver through their movements, which are more like gestures than two-dimensional depictions on a display. Even the slightest peripheral movement is perceptible to the driver. In combination with the Head-Up display, Alive Geometry uniquely fuses the analogue with the digital.

The triangles work in much the same way as a flock of birds in controlled flight, their coordinated movements acting as signals that are easily comprehensible to those inside the car. Combined with the Head-Up display, they involve the driver in a form of preconscious communication, where an intuitive signal predicts an imminent real-time event.

Various approaches can already be seen today that appear to confirm the feasibility of this solution. Rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing, for example, are gaining importance all the time and are likely to be commonplace 30 years from now. Although at present it remains difficult to imagine how hundreds of tiny triangles could be coordinated to make Alive Geometry work, in the years ahead, it will be possible, as today's standard vehicle manufacturing methods are replaced. In the future it will become feasible to produce far more complex and forms. This is why, in the context of the BMW VISION NEXT 100, the BMW Group refers to 4D printing, a process which adds a fourth level to components: the functional one. In the years ahead, printer parts manufactured in this way will directly integrate functions which today have to be designed and produced separately before being incorporated into the whole.

At the moment, the digital world is strongly linked to displays; the next step will be organic LEDs -- in other words displays that can freely change shape. However the Vision Vehicle suggests there will at some point be no more displays at all. Instead the entire windscreen will serve as a giant display, directly in front of the driver. In the future the digital and physical worlds will merge considerably, as is also expressed through Alive Geometry, for example, in the way the analogue dashboard interacts with the digital Head-Up Display in the front windscreen.

Boost and Ease driving modes for driver- or vehicle-controlled operations.

In Boost and Ease mode alike, the elements and technologies of the vehicle make for the most intense or relaxed driving experience, depending on what is required. Transitioning between modes is impressive and perfectly orchestrated, and Alive Geometry remains relevant throughout. In Boost, when the driver is concentrating fully on the road, Alive Geometry highlights the ideal driving line or possible turning point and warns of oncoming vehicles. Rather than making the driver drive faster, this kind of support sets out to make them drive noticeably better. In addition, intuitive feedback has a more physical and immediate impact than a robotic voice or instructions on a screen. In Ease mode, on the other hand, Alive Geometry is more discreet in its movements, informing occupants about the road ahead and any acceleration and braking maneuvers that are about to happen.

In Boost mode, the entire vehicle focuses on the driver, offering intelligent support to maximize the driving experience. The seat and steering wheel change position, and the center console moves to become more strongly oriented toward the driver. As the journey proceeds, the driver can interact with the vehicle via gesture control. In Boost mode, the entire vehicle focuses on the driver, offering intelligent support to maximize the driving experience.

The contact analogue BMW Head-Up Display of the future uses the entire windscreen to communicate with the driver. In Boost mode, it focuses exclusively on what really matters to the driver: information such as the ideal line, turning point and speed. In addition, full connectivity, intelligent sensors and permanent data exchange allow the Heads-Up Display to generate a digital image of the vehicle's surroundings. In foggy conditions, for example, this means the driver can benefit from information such as vehicles crossing ahead, before they actually come into sight. In addition, by learning more and more about the driver, the system continuously improves, concentrating on creating at all times the most intense and personal driving experience possible.

The transition to Ease mode brings about a complete change of interior ambience. The steering wheel and center console retract and the headrests move to one side to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The seats and door panels merge to form a single unit, allowing the driver and passengers to sit at a slight angle. This makes it easier for them to face each other and sit in a more relaxed position for easier communications. Meanwhile, the Head-Up Display offers occupants personalized content along with the information and entertainment they desire.

Depending on the driving mode, the focus of the vehicle changes, concentrating on essentials for the driver in Boost mode, and the surroundings and atmosphere in Ease mode, highlighting the impressive landscapes or buildings of interest that the car is passing by, for instance.

Whether the vehicle is in Boost or Ease mode is also clearly apparent to other road users as the trademark kidney grille, double headlights and L-shaped rear lights act as communication tool. Their different colors of light indicate which mode the vehicle is currently in.

Companion: The intelligent digital partner connects driver and car.

The Companion is symbolized by a small sculptural element which represents the driver-vehicle connection. Shaped like a large, cut gemstone, it is positioned in the center of the dashboard, just beneath the windscreen, where it symbolizes the intelligence, connectivity and availability of the BMW VISION NEXT 100. It also represents the constant exchange of data: the more it learns about the owner and their mobility habits, the smarter it becomes. At some stage it knows the driver well enough to automatically perform routine tasks for them and offer suitable advice when needed. Irrespective of the vehicle itself, constant learning makes Companion increasingly valuable to its owner.

The Companion also plays an important role in driver-vehicle communications when the car transitions from Boost to Ease mode. While the driver concentrates on the road in Boost mode, the Companion remains flat in the dashboard. But when the BMW VISION NEXT 100 takes control in Ease, it rises up to create an interface with the windscreen. A signal light tells the driver that the car is ready for fully autonomous driving. For other road users, the Companion has a similar function, signaling through its own light as well as that of the vehicle that the car is operating in automated mode. In certain traffic situations, the Companion is in visual contact with other road users, helping pedestrians to cross the road by means of the green light gradient on the front of the vehicle.

Trademark BMW exterior

The design of the BMW Vision Vehicle is characterized by a blend of coupé-type sportiness and the dynamic elegance of a sedan. At 4.90 meters long and1.37 meters high, it has compact exterior dimensions. Inside, however, it has the dimensions of a luxury BMW sedan.

The large wheels are positioned at the outer edges of the body, giving the vehicle the dynamic stance that is a trademark of BMW. When it comes to aerodynamics, exterior Alive Geometry contributes to an outstanding effect: when the wheels swivel as the vehicle is steered, the bodywork keeps them covered as if it were a flexible skin, accommodating their various positions. The innovative design of the BMW VISION NEXT 100 gives it an extremely low drag coefficient of 0.18.

The exterior of the vehicle is copper in color, designed to underscore the idea that BMW vehicles of the future should appear technical yet still have a warmth about them -- as symbolized by the close links between the vehicle and its driver.

This relationship begins as soon as the driver approaches the vehicle: intelligent sensor technologies automatically open its wing doors. To give the driver more space to enter and exit, the steering wheel is flush with the dashboard. Once seated, the full range of systems is activated by tapping on the BMW logo in the middle of the dashboard. The door closes, the steering wheel comes forward, and the driving experience begins.

Materials of the future

The designers of the BMW VISION NEXT 100 primarily used fabrics made from recycled and renewable materials. The visible and non-visible carbon components, such as the side panels, are made from residues from normal carbon fibre production. In the future, the choice of materials will become even more important throughout the design and production processes.

With time, other new materials will also be added into the mix, allowing different vehicle shapes to emerge. To save resources and support more sustainable manufacturing, less use will be made of wood and leather while innovative materials and the consequent new possibilities in design and production gradually come to the fore. This approach is already being exemplified by the use of high-quality textiles and easily recyclable mono-materials and the elimination of leather in the interior of the BMW VISION NEXT 100.

The BMW Group With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world's leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries. In 2015, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.247 million cars and nearly 137,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2014 was approximately EUR 8.71 billion on revenues amounting to EUR 80.40 billion. As of 31 December 2014, the BMW Group had a workforce of 116,324 employees. The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. 

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