BMW Vision Next 100 Concept
BMW used the 100 years celebration not to look back but to look into the future and it unveiled the piece of art that would achieve just that. The slogan for its 100th anniversary was “the next 100 years”. The German-based Bavarian carmaker can look back on a successful history but it also has a vision for the future. Its vehicle prototype “BMW Vision next 100” shows what mobility may look like in a few decades.
This jewel is the creation of BMW’s head designer Adrian Van Hooydonk. When asked how difficult it was to give shape to a vision for the next century? The designer says BMW has been working on this project for a year-and-a-half. But of course no one can see into the future. First his team thought about what the future might hold. What technologies might be available and how a car could be built that would make driving even more enjoyable.
The BMW Vision next 100 is a mixture of sporty Coupe and a dynamic elegant sedan. What’s revolutionary however is its shape-changing body. There are a lot of unfamiliar features for example the wheels are invisible; hidden within the body. Wait, but how can they be turn?
Well Adrian Van Hooydonk explains that the wheels are fully into the wheel housing because that greatly improves the car’s aerodynamics. He admits though that this meant steering was a problem to be solved. And the solution is what BMW calls “a live geometry”. The body consists of many individual interlocking parts that allow the body to change shape that the wheels can turn. The wheel-housings actually expand to accommodate the turning wheels.
The interior has really changed too. To get in you must get through the doors. With no handles and keys the doors open with a simple wave of your hand explains BMW’s designer. It’s just fascinating; with no key at all you can still operate the car. Van Hooydonk says no key will be necessary in the future. The car will recognize who wants to get in.
The car still has normal seats to sit on; with lots of room. The car is the size of a 5 series model, a sedan. But it has the room of a 7 Series. You can sit in several different positions depending on whether you’re driving, or letting the car drive you.
The car has two driving modes, self driving ease mode – in that mode you can take it easy, lean against the door and do other things like talk on the phone or watch a film. Don’t try this with a semi autonomous car unless you want interesting results. In this state the steering wheel is retracted to give a bit more room. The vision next 100 also has a boost mode – a steering bar comes out to let you drive yourself.
With the steering bar out, the car is now in boost mode ready for a human driver. All the information you need is available on the windshield. The dashboard also supports the driver with a live geometry. For example if there is a hazard it alerts the driver to the danger coming from a certain direction or tells him that he better brake.
A live geometry facilitates the interaction between driver and vehicle. It’s to be on the road in two or three vehicle generations but BMW has some other ideas that will be realized much sooner.
The near future
The electric motor of the new i3 BMW will be let loose this year with a 50% greater range. Then in 2018 the i8 roadster, a very emotionally appealing sports car will come on the market. at the beginning of the next decade, the BMW iNext will roll out to the show rooms. A technological pioneer for a lightweight construction, connectivity, autonomous driving and networking. So BMW has big plans for the near and the distant future.
Watch the ideas behind the BMW Vision Next 100 Concept