The BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept car has been unveiled at CES 2016, and provides clues about what's in store for future iterations of the brand's iDrive infotainment system.
Based on the 2012 plug-in hybrid i8 Spyder concept, the i Vision Future Interaction goes a step further by eliminating the doors altogether, presumably to allow attendees at CES 2016 an easy look at the concept's remodelled dashboard.
Ahead of the driver there's a autostereoscopic adaptive 3D instrument display, as well as a high resolution head-up display. As well as basic information, such as navigation and speed data, these units also show data about vehicles that are out of the driver's field of vision.
The interior layout has been massively simplified, with the centre tunnel pared back to lashings of metal and leather, and a new 21-inch panoramic display taking up much of the space ahead of the passenger.
The car offers three driving modes: pure, assist and auto. In pure mode, the driver is in full control, with assistance systems only operating in the background and providing alerts as necessary. Suggested braking points and driving lines can be shown on the head-up display.
For assist mode, routes are automatically entered into the nav system, and the car takes over if there's a imminent risk of an accident.
In auto mode, the car is able to steer, brake, accelerate by itself, and the cabin transforms slightly in accordance. The steering wheel moves back and out of the way, and glows an electric blue, while the seats take on a more lounge-like feel.
If the car's systems need to shift control back to the driver, they will give at least seven seconds notice via both audio and visual alerts.
In manual driving mode, the display space and functionality of the 21-inch panoramic screen is greatly reduced, but in semi-autonomous mode it could support video conferencing, emails, messaging and full web browsing. The interface for the large screen consists of a sliding array of large icon tiles.
The large screen can be operated via BMW's new AirTouch system, which allows for touchscreen-like interaction, including swipes and pushes or clicks, without any physical contact with the screen.
This is achieved via sensors in the dashboard that can detect hand gestures by either the driver or passenger. On-screen icons can also be selected via a button on the steering wheel or on the passenger's side panel.
For those who aren't in favour of the Minority Report-style gestures, there's also a touch sensitive area on the centre console for a more traditional interface, as well as natural language recognition.