News - BMW
BMW outlines bold, tech-focused future
Bold Vision: BMW Group chairman Harald Krueger predicts that vehicles will become people’s digital “chauffeurs and personal companions”.
Vision Next 100 concept provides glimpse at future of mobility according to BMW
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8 March 2016
BMW has revealed a highly advanced concept car dubbed the ‘Vision Next 100’
that provides a compelling picture of its future development priorities,
including autonomous-drive and digital technology and new construction and
Presented at a special ‘Next 100 Years’ event in Munich this week – which marks
the start of a year-long celebration of BMW’s centenary – the Vision Next 100
is the first of four concepts that will highlight the German prestige car
manufacturer’s vision of the future – not just for itself, but for the broader
Following its Asian debut at the Beijing motor show next month, BMW will reveal
Mini and Rolls-Royce Vision concepts in London in mid-to-late June, while a BMW
Motorrad Vision motorcycle concept will debut in Los Angeles in October.
At this week’s event, BMW Group chief executive Harald Krueger said the company
sees “new opportunities for premium mobility” and described its future models
as “digital chauffeurs and personal companions”.
“Mobility is going to diversify,” he said. “In the future, people will want
access to the right mobility solution for their needs in any given situation.
“As a vehicle producer, we need to develop a fuller understanding of mobility
in all its facets and address the new points we discover. Connectivity is
becoming increasingly mainstream. Our technologies will learn to learn from
“For a better quality of life, the BMW Group is going to turn data into
intelligence. Soon, our cars will be digital chauffeurs and personal
companions. They will anticipate what we want to do and make our lives easier
“Transportation will become a personal experience that people will love because
it’s precisely the way we want it to be. All of this forms part of our holistic
vision of future mobility in 2030 and beyond. As always, the customer and their
personal experience will remain the focus of what we do.”
To identify the key projections in its vision for the next two to three decades
at least, BMW Group undertook extensive research and used data from “well-
regarded” studies and other sources as well as the opinions of respected
The company says increased urbanisation will be one of the main drivers of
change in personal mobility, with experts estimating that by 2050, more than 75
per cent of people in Europe and about 90 per cent of people in United States
will live in cities.
Last year BMW Group’s Centre for Excellence in Urban Mobility looked at some of
the issues relating to this and is now working with interest groups and various
cities to develop sustainable concepts for urban mobility.
BMW predicts that the industry will change more in the next decade than it has
in the past 30 years. It says digitalisation will play a key role in these
major changes, particularly in relation to the production process.
Four areas identified by BMW include Smart Logistics, which aims to “increase
transparency over the supply networks and optimise supply chains”, as well as
‘innovative automation systems’ such as flexible robots that can work alongside
humans to assist with physically demanding tasks.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing will be another area of focus, as will
sustainability in terms of reducing the environmental impact of production and
cutting the emissions of its fleet.
According to BMW Group Design chief Adrian van Hooydonk, the Vision Next 100
was created to demonstrate the various technologies that lay ahead for the
“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it
could one day become reality,” he said.
“So our objective with the BMW Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario
that people would engage with. Technology is going to make significant
advances, opening up fantastic new possibilities that will allow us to offer
the driver even more assistance for an even more intense driving experience.
“My personal view is that technology should be as intuitive as possible to
operate and experience so that future interactions between human, machine and
surroundings become seamless. The BMW Vision Next 100 shows how we intend to
shape this future.”
Underpinning the concept are four “proposals”, including the inevitability of
autonomous cars, which BMW says have “become so widespread that it’s no longer
a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’”.
The car-maker is confident that regardless of its autonomous capability, the
Vision Next 100 is a “genuine BMW, offering an intense experience of ‘sheer
Increased digitalisation means that physical and digital worlds will merge,
while the way humans interact with technology will change dramatically,
according to BMW.
“Screens and touchscreens will be replaced by more intuitive forms of
human-machine communication and interaction. Better yet: technology will become
more human,” the company says.
The company has also predicted the demise of traditional manufacturing
techniques with 4D printing and rapid manufacturing producing “intelligent,
networked materials” rather than components.
“At some point, presses that punch out hundreds of thousands of steel parts may
well become obsolete – the use of carbon may already be a first indication of
the sea-change that is imminent in the world of automotive materials and
production,” the company says.
The fourth “proposal” in developing the concept was the company’s commitment
that mobility will remain an emotional experience, which it adds “is firmly
fixed in our collective corporate memory”.
The coupe-like design of the Vision Next 100 points to future BMW models.
Measuring 4900mmm long and 1370mm high, the vehicle has compact exterior
dimensions but offers a similar amount of space to one of the company’s larger
While BMW’s iconic kidney grille remains, the traditional circular quad
headlights have been replaced by four blade-like lights at the front.
Futuristic touches of the copper-coloured car include the wing doors that use a
sensor to detect the driver approaching and automatically open the door.
It also features the intriguing Alive Geometry functional design element
consisting of moving triangles. When the wheels turn, the bodywork keeps them
covered like a “flexible skin” and can accommodate the wheel’s various
No powertrain details have been released, but given BMW’s focus on
sustainability, it is likely to be electrified.
Designers mostly used recycled or renewable materials in creating the concept
with all carbon components made from the leftovers of normal carbon-fibre
BMW says to ensure more sustainable manufacturing in the future and to save
resources, “less use will be made of wood and leather while innovative
materials and the consequent new possibilities in design and production
gradually come to the fore”, highlighted by the lack of leather in the concept’
There is extensive use of the 3D Alive Geometry in the ultra-high-tech cabin,
with about 800 moving triangles set into the instrument and some side panels
communicating information directly with the driver through movements, and
combined with the head-up display, fuses analogue and digital, according to BMW.
“The triangles work in much the same way as a flock of birds in controlled
flight, their co-ordinated movements acting as signals that are easily
comprehensible to those inside the car,” the company says.
“Combined with the head-up display, they involve the driver in a form of
preconscious communication, where an intuitive signal predicts an imminent
“Although at present it remains difficult to imagine how hundreds of tiny
triangles could be co-ordinated to make Alive Geometry work, in the years ahead
it will be possible, as today’s standard vehicle manufacturing methods are
replaced. In the future it will become feasible to produce far more complex and
BMW says things such as head-up displays and screens as we know them today will
be replaced by organic LEDs – displays that can change shape – and predicted
that instead, “the entire windscreen will serve as a giant display, directly in
front of the driver”.
The car-maker suggests two autonomous drive modes in future vehicles – Boost
and Ease. Boost mode is when the driver has control of the vehicle and BMW says
the entire focus is on the driver, with the seat and steering wheel changing
position while the centre console becomes more oriented towards the driver.
When the Ease autonomous mode is selected, the steering wheel and console
retract, the headrests move to the side for a “relaxed and welcoming
atmosphere”, while seats and door panels merge allowing the driver and
passenger to sit at a slight angle making it easier for them to face each
A device dubbed the Companion – shaped like a cut gemstone and positioned in
the centre of the dash beneath the windscreen – gathers data about the vehicle’
s owner and their habits and eventually will know the driver well enough to
automatically perform routine tasks and offer advice.
The Companion remains flat in the dash during Boost mode but rises up when Ease
mode is selected.