To commemorate its 100 years of existence, BMW has shown off its glimpse of the future of driving in the Vision Next 100 car.
While BMW has created a prototype of the car it's not something we expect to do much driving, nor to hit the roads anytime soon. Rather this is a showcase of everything that is coming in the future of vehicles.
That includes the ability to jump between manual and self-driving as well as featuring a smart learning AI called Companion.
The car should also feature a moving dashboard for analogue communication to compliment the entire windscreen heads-up display. This very exciting future is explained below and a gallery showing concept and real world images is above.
BMW Vision Next 100: Ultimate Driver
What BMW calls the Ultimate Driver is essentially about making the car tailored to the individual, for the perfect drive. This gives rise to two modes of driving.
The first is Boost mode which is like traditional cars, where the driver is in control of the wheel, or in this case a Batmobile like dual handled control wheel. In this state the car's brain, called Companion, learns about the driver and offers intelligent assistance to suit.
The other driving system is called Ease Mode. This is essentially the car's autonomous self-driving state. In this mode the controls shrink back into the car as it takes over.
The entire seating position and car controls will move to suit the mode of the car. For example in Ease mode the doors and seat merge while headrests slide away allowing the passengers to move about into comfier positions. Externally the lights and car grille will display which mode the car is driving in.
BMW Vision Next 100: Alive Geometry
The idea behind Alive Geometry is to fuse analogue and digital. By using 800 moving triangular shapes the dashboard seemingly comes alive to communicate messages in three dimensions. So far so concept-like.
Clarifying this mystical tech further BMW says: "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."
On top of that the entire windscreen will act as a display so in car screens will no longer be needed. That will work in conjunction with the dashboard's 4D printed triangular analogue means of communication. More on that below.
BMW Vision Next 100: How it will work
A combination of the Alive Geometry and the Ultimate Driver modes will create the ideal driving experience.
So if you're in Boost mode the Alive Geometry will move in a way to highlight the ideal driving line or possible turning points, for example. The idea being to create the best driving experience.
When in Ease mode, by comparison, the Alive Geometry will be far subtler as the driver no longer needs to pay as much attention. It would be used more as a means to alert the driver and passengers to braking and cornering maneuvers so they're ready for them and remain comfortable.
BMW Vision Next 100: Build
From the outside the Vision Next 100 is super aerodynamic with a low drag coefficient of 0.18 despite a height of 1.37 metres.
The car packs external sensors which automatically open the wing doors when the driver approaches. The steering wheel pushes flush with the dashboard to make entry easier then, once seated, the door closes and wheel pulls into the driving position.
Materials includes carbon fibre for the shell and recycled or renewable fabrics for the inside. This will mean the beginning of the end for traditional, less sustainable, materials like leather and wood.
As for the drive system nothing was mentioned. We imagine it would be hydrogen or electric battery powered, or perhaps even powered over the air from long range energy transmission. This is still an area so in flux BMW likely didn't want to commit to one type of drive system, for now.