If you haven’t heard about it yet, you can hear about it now. How would you like if your car adapted to you? What if your car could learn your likes and driving habits, and change itself to fit you better?
This is the concept of BMW’s Vision Next 100. The point is to have the car be able to alter itself to meet your desires and now, I’m not just talking about tweaking suspension and other small adjustments, but I mean the car physically changing itself on the go; anticipating and even enhancing the driver’s performance.
Bringing smart technology into our automobiles is nothing new, but most have been focused on either the autonomous vehicle or one that is centered around adapting to the driver. This technology started showing up around 2 years ago when Jaguar introduced the ‘Smart Assistant’ in their Land Rover. An intelligent self-learning vehicle that offers personalized driving experiences and prevents accidents by reducing driver distraction. Through the ‘Smart Assistant’, the car can review your schedule for the day and intelligently pre-set the navigation depending on traffic conditions to avoid congestion. When the driver activates Auto Adaptive Cruise Control (AACC) the car will be able to apply learned distance settings and acceleration profiles to automated cruise control.
But we’re here to talk about the Next 100 concept. BMW’s take on this car is focused on the option of either one. Drivers will be able to choose between ‘Boost’ and ‘Ease’ modes which will offer the driver either a vehicle-controlled or a driver-controlled option. In ‘Boost Mode’, the driver will be able to experience even more intense driving pleasure, and in the fully-automated ‘Ease Mode’, on the other hand, the Companion takes over all driving tasks; the interior then changes based on the choice, to best suit the mode of travel. The “driver-car” interaction is managed with an “Alive Geometry” concept that incorporates moulded triangles along the dashboard and doors; alerts will pop up to notify the driver of current road conditions.
The main change in the interior is showed by the image above: the steering wheel and center console will change its position depending on whether the car is to operate in ‘Boost’ or ‘Ease’. When in ‘Boost Mode’, the steering wheel is facing the driver obviously and the console moves forward, providing easier access to the driver. If in ‘Ease Mode’, seats will rotate slightly to provide better positioning and the steering wheel will retract and the console will shift back providing the passengers more space.
The autonomous car: an increasingly competitive race, with all the major tech and automotive companies joining in. From Google to Tesla, it’s not surprising that this feature is going to be soon incorporated into vehicles as a standard. As a celebration for BMW’s centenary year, the brand has combined style, technology and innovation into the incredible Vision Next 100. I can only imagine how different our world will have changed, if and when this vision is achieved. Cheers to BMW, we look forward to it.