If you haven’t already heard, BMW is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary. But BMW’s idea of celebrating this milestone has been far from conventional. Instead of going on a self-adulation spree, or bragging about its previous laurels, BMW gave us a glimpse at the future of automobiles during its centenary celebrations as the manufacturer revealed a cutting-edge concept – dubbed the Vision Next 100.
It would be apt to call the Vision Next 100 concept otherworldly based on its appearance. Still, the signature kidney grille at the front is proof that it is indeed a BMW. That apart, its design and tech include everything that you can expect at some point down the road. For example, its entire windshield can turn into a giant LED screen in front of the driver. Around 800 moving triangles in 3D are embedded in the dash, communicating with the driver using more gesture-like movements than 2D depictions. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg, there are countless other advanced-tech functions in the car.
Amidst the on-going debate about autonomous cars, BMW is still pressing home the point that “the driver will remain firmly as the focus” in the Vision Next 100 Concept. But that’s not saying that it doesn’t come with self-driving tech. In fact, BMW claims that the concept is the best of both the worlds. The Vision Next 100 has two modes – Boost and Easy. In Boost mode, the driver controls the vehicle while in the Ease mode he or she can just sit back and let the vehicle take over.
What’s more, in Ease mode, the steering wheel and centre console retract and the headrests move to one side to create a more relaxed seating arrangement. On the other hand, Boost Mode will have a head-up display that highlights the ideal driving line and possible turning points while warning about oncoming vehicles – much like you see in modern racing simulators.
BMW will also unveil three more vision concepts, under the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motarrad brands as part of its on-going celebrations. While none of these technologies will necessarily make it into a production BMW in the immediate future, we can only hope that BMW’s driver-focussed nature remains intact for the next 100 years, and then some…