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CES: BMW unveils i Vision Future Interaction

Copper jacket bullet: BMW's CES centrepiece i8 concept is dressed in E-Copper Orange and houses the latest in self-driving technology.

Future BMW technology showcased at CES with doorless i8 Spyder concept


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6 Jan 2016

BMW has chosen the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to debut a new i8 Concept Spyder that showcases a host of innovative technologies such as autonomous driving, gesture control and environmental information sharing.

The protractedly named Concept Car BMW i Vision Future Interaction is based on the i8 Spyder that was recently confirmed for production, but goes further by removing the doors as well as the roof.

In addition to the more obvious aesthetic changes, the show car hides a variety of new comfort and driver assistance features starting with an interior rethink, which brings an elongated 12-inch dash-mounted screen, twin-spoke steering wheel and organic seats with Siamese base cushions.

The new larger monitor relays information to both occupants from the extensive range of electronic systems fitted to the concept.

An autostereoscopic instrument cluster allows the driver to see the most important vehicle information in three dimensions and is complemented by a head-up display.

Like the production version already available in the BMW 7 Series, the concept also has the option to control on-board functions without touching the various screens or panels, with the AirTouch gesture control system.

A series of hand motions are detected by cabin sensors to negotiate the large screen menus that appear as a layout of tiles rather than a more conventional list. Touch sensors hidden under the leather of the centre console, which connects the two seats, can also be used to select options.

Self-driving technology is also demonstrated in the car, with three driving modes that allow the driver to have control of the vehicle when in the Pure Drive setting, while the Auto Mode assumes full control.

When selected, the steering wheel glows blue and retracts from the driver, allowing more space for other tasks such as watching films or checking emails using the large panoramic screen.

A third Assist mode allows the driver to continue enjoying the sensation of driving but continually monitors the vehicle's surroundings including traffic and environmental conditions, and will only intervene if the driver does not react to an impending hazard.

The German car-maker is also exhibiting the Internet of Things, which can connect futuristic household electronic items to the Cloud for more seamless operation. For example, a smart mirror would detect a nearby smartphone or watch and display the day's schedule for the wearer before leaving the house.

The messages would then be passes to the owner’s BMW outside.

After receiving its orders, the connected car can fire up air-conditioning or heating systems and then make its way from a parking space to the owner's front door.

The system relies on BMW's Open Mobility Cloud which links all users devices and can continually update a schedule throughout the day and as it changes.

Motorcycle enthusiasts are also catered for at the show with a helmet with a built-in head up display, while laser diode headlights fitted to the K 1600 GTL concept is another example of car technology spreading into motorcycle products.

BMW first exhibited laser headlights at CES last year when it rolled out the M4 Concept Iconic Lights.

A growing list of car-makers join BMW at the show each year as many choose the even as a more relevant show for demonstrating vehicle's increasing dependence on state of the art electronics.

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