The BMW Vision Next 100 concept has been unveiled as part of the company’s centenary celebrations, previewing what might be ahead for the luxury marque in its second century.
Inside the cabin, the Vision Next 100 features a conceptual system, dubbed Alive Geometry, that consists of 800 or so moving luminous triangles embedded into the dashboard and side panels. These triangles can point out an ideal driving line, potential dangers ahead, or inform passengers when the autonomous braking system is about to engage.
An external version of Alive Geometry system allows for flexible body panels, which ensure that wheels remain fully covered even when they are turned.
The car’s slinky shape and wheel coverings are said to help the car cut through the air with a coefficient of drag of just 0.18.
The Vision Next 100 has seating for four people and does without any traditional screens, preferring instead to display information on the windscreen via a head-up display and augmented reality-style projections.
The company believes that autonomous vehicles are a question of when not if, but that owners of BMW cars will still prefer to steer for themselves most of the time.
The Vision Next 100 has two basic driving modes — Boost and Ease — both of which make use of an on-board intelligent assistant known as the Companion.
In Boost mode the human driver is in control, but can be aided by the Companion, which aims to make the person in the hot seat an “ultimate driver”. In human driver mode, the steering wheel pops out and the centre console is angled towards the driver.
When the car is in Ease mode, the Companion takes over the driving duties and makes the interior a more comfortable lounge-like place to be in.
As well as providing in-car entertainment, the Companion can also inform pedestrians when its safe to cross the street via a series of coloured lights on the car’s exterior.
According to BMW, the Vision Next 100 is made primarily from recycled or renewable materials, including the residue of carbon-fibre production.
In the future, BMW believes that it will use less wood and leather for its interiors.