Autonomous Vehicles P90212592_highRes_bmw-group-the-next-1

Published on March 12th, 2016 | by Kyle Field

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BMW Celebrates 100 Years With Bold New Concept Car

March 12th, 2016 by  

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Image Courtesy: BMW

BMW is turning 100, but it’s not content to go down in the history books as a brand that aged gracefully — but rather, is dying those grey hairs orange and dressing up for a night on the town. In other words, BMW threw a huge bash in Munich at the BMW Group Centenary Event and pulled the cover off a bold new concept that lays bare the brand’s vision for the next 100 years of BMW… or at least the foreseeable future.

The BMW Group honed in on 3 themes that capture the essence of the brand for the next few decades: the capacity to learn and adapt, technological innovation, and a sense of responsibility toward society. These three ideals are woven into the new concept vehicle throughout with next-gen computing and AI forming the heart of the future of BMW.

Alive Geometry was revealed as the branded name for the AI that parses out the various cameras, sensors, navigation, GPS, big data, and learned patterns to actively predict hazards, trends, and traffic — and proactively works to head them off. Check out the brief video BMW released demonstrating this next-gen predictive AI here.

Getting back to the car, the Vision Next 100 concept is a bold thrust into the future for the brand, with an exterior that looks like a BMW i8 went off for a scandalous weekend with the lone Faraday Future concept and came home hiding in a sheet, shamed. The front comes up to meet you with the signature BMW kidney grills, which look a bit awkward on what is presumably an electric car (we are talking about the future, right?).

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Image Courtesy: BMW

Cracking open one of the suicide “swan wing” doors reveals a surprisingly static interior. Forward-looking elements like the tiny twin grip steering wheel and floating headrests clash with seemingly 80s retro seats and angles that look like they were pulled from retired Back to the Future prop sheds.

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Image Courtesy: BMW

With BMW being known for providing the Ultimate Driving Experience, autonomous driving seems contradictory to the very lifeblood of the car, as evidenced by the persistent steering wheel that just won’t go away. It feels as though autonomous cars are just around the corner from us here in 2016, so the fact that the Vision Next 100 has such a traditional layout with 4 forward-facing seats and a steering wheel is a bit of a shocker, but as a compromise, this “hybrid drive mode” car allows for either driver-controlled or vehicle-controlled driving.

BMW is not just looking at the parent brand here, but is taking the BMW Vision Next 100 on a world tour, picking up Vision Vehicles from sister brands Mini and Rolls Royce in London and a Motorrad at a final stop in Los Angeles.

While BMW’s vision of delivering premium, effortless mobility, comprehensively available and tailored to every customer’s individual preferences sounds easy and there are some solid pillars of those themes in this concept, there are also some sizeable gaps that need a bit more meat on the bone before I’m sold.

Let’s see autonomous driving in a current car — or at least some next-gen Active Safety tech. Let’s see that steering wheel disappear. If drivers still want to be able to drive, do it with a touch interface, gestures, or a mobile device. Luxury? How about seats that look comfortable and not rigid. Make it about me. Be bold about electric — it really is the future of the automotive industry… or at least the next 30–50 years of it. You want the future? The future doesn’t need the grill… it just doesn’t.

While the champagne from the party has all gone flat and the car has left town, you can still revel in the energy from the event by browsing through the press release.

 
 
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  • DecksUpMySleeve

    Stop making concept cars for the rich, thanks.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    If BMW wants to show some innovation for the next 100 years they need to ditch their headquarters. Replace it with something like an electric motor instead of the awful thing that dates them to the dinosaur era.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:4_cilindros_y_museo_BMW,_M%C3%BAnich,_Alemania_2012-04-28,_DD_02.JPG

    The Tower was built between 1968 and 1972 and was ready in time for 1972 Summer Olympics. Its inauguration followed on 18 May 1973. The 101-metre (331 ft) building is located near the Olympic Village and is often cited as one of the most notable examples of architecture in Munich. The tower’s exterior is supposed to mimic the shape of four cylinders in a car engine, with the museum representing a cylinder head. Both buildings were designed by the Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer.[4]

    The main tower consists of four vertical cylinders standing next to and across from each other. Each cylinder is divided horizontally in its center by a mold in the facade. Notably, these cylinders do not stand on the ground; they are suspended on a central support tower. During the construction, individual floors were assembled on the ground and then elevated. The tower has a diameter of 52.30 metres (171.6 ft) and it has 22 occupied floors, two of which are basements and 18 serve as office space.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_Headquarters

    • Philip W

      So building a new headquarters suddenly changes everything? haha 😀

      They are massively expanding their R&D facilities (FIZ Forschungs- und Innovationszentrum) btw. They want to make it bigger by 80% until 2050.
      Here’s a bad google translation of a german article: https://translate.google.de/translate?hl=de&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sueddeutsche.de%2Fmuenchen%2Fausbau-des-bmw-innovationszentrums-neue-arbeitsplaetze-in-der-forschungsfabrik-1.1669150

      • Ivor O’Connor

        They got to nearly double their R&D so they might as well do it with flare. Make it represent the next 100 years like the four cylinders represented their first 100 years. Better lead the way with flare than introduce “concept cars” proving they are still in the last century.

        Maybe they could make the architecture a competition. Something to show motors, the Bavarian blue and white, and something else truly inspiring beyond my imagination. Germans love their engineering architectural art. Something to motivate the town for the next few years.

        • Philip W

          I think we have different ideas of motivation.

          Also as someone who lives in Munich I can tell you, that this building is an important landmark to the city. Don’t underestimate the importance of that.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Maybe we do have different ideas on motivation. But you admit this landmark building has importance to the city. I’d like to see something new of similar importance put up for the next century. I think if done right the architecture could motivate and get BMW on the right track again so they are not lagging so badly against Tesla.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Looks like some cylindrical cells standing on end to me.

      Might need to paint a large “+” sign at the top and a “-” at the bottom….

      • Ivor O’Connor

        🙂

      • Philip W

        Never thought about it this way. Nice perspective 🙂

  • JamesWimberley

    Did Henry Ford show concept cars? Does Elon Musk? In most of the age of the ICE, they served to disguise the fact that there was actually very little innovation in production cars. During a real revolution, they are just silly.

    • DecksUpMySleeve

      Couldn’t agree more as to cloaking stagnation.

  • jonesey

    What is the point of posts like this? You might as well post a Photoshop that somebody made with an auto-maker’s logo on it.

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