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The BMW Group shared its vision of the future digital experiences inside and outside of cars at the CES 2023 tech trade show this week.
It called this futuristic concept car the BMW i Vision Dee: A mid-size sedan with a new and pared-down design language.
The name “Dee” stands for Digital Emotional Experience. And that is its aim: To create an even stronger bond between people and their cars. From what I can tell, it’s like a metaverse in your car, as well as KITT from the Knight Rider television show.
Future digital functions will go far beyond the level of voice control and driver assistance systems we are familiar with today. The BMW Head-Up-Display extends across the full width of the windshield (or windscreen).
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From 2025 onwards, this innovation will be available in the models of the Neue Klase car.
“With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showcasing what is possible when hardware and software merge,” Oliver Zipse, chairman of BMW AG, said in a statement. “In this way, we are able to exploit the full potential of digitalization to transform the car into an intelligent companion. “
He continued, “that is the future for automotive manufacturers — and, also, for BMW: The fusion of the virtual experience with genuine driving pleasure. At the same time, BMW i Vision Dee is another step on the road to the Neue Klasse. With this vision, we are looking far into the future and underlining the tremendous importance of digitalization for our upcoming product generations.”
With its intelligent, BMW i Vision Dee accompanies drivers not only through real-life situations on the roads, but also in their digital environment.
“A BMW lives by its unparalleled digital performance,” Frank Weber, member of the board of BMW AG responsible for development said in a statement. “BMW i Vision Dee is about perfect integration of virtual and physical experiences. Whoever excels at integrating the customer’s everyday digital worlds into the vehicle at all levels will succeed in mastering the future of car-building.”
BMW mixed reality slider: into the virtual world in five steps
The BMW mixed reality slider, in combination with the advanced head-up display (which BMW spells Head-Up-Display), is the digital highlight and central operating control of BMW i Vision Dee.
Using shy-tech sensors on the instrument panel, drivers can decide for themselves how much digital content they want to see on the advanced heads-up display. The five-step selection has analog options, driving-related information, contents of the communications system, augmented-reality projection and even entry into virtual worlds.
In parallel, dimmable windows can also be used to gradually fade out reality. Mixed reality can be experienced in BMW i Vision Dee in an immersive way that engages different senses without requiring any additional tools, creating a new dimension of driving pleasure for the user, the company said.
Advanced BMW heads-up display: in Neue Klasse from 2025
The BMW Group takes pride in its heads-up displays and has systematically refined this technology over the past two decades.
In BMW i Vision Dee, projection across the entire width of the windscreen allows information to be displayed on the largest possible surface – which only becomes recognizable as a display once it is activated.
In this way, the BMW Group sees the potential of projection technology and BMW i Vision Dee visualizes how a advanced heads-up display could also be used in the future for the display and operating concept. The standard-production version of the BMW heads-up display extending across the full width of the windscreen will be used in the models of the Neue Klasse from 2025 onwards.
Welcome scenario with voice and phygital icons
The digital experience begins outside the vehicle, with a personalized welcome scenario that combines graphical elements, light and sound effects.
BMW said natural language serves as the simplest, most intuitive form of interaction, enabling perfect understanding between humans and their vehicles. The headlights and the closed BMW kidney grille also form a common phygital (fusion of physical and digital) icon on a uniform surface, allowing the vehicle to produce different facial expressions.
This means BMW i Vision Dee can talk to people and, at the same time, express moods such as joy, astonishment or approval visually. BMW i Vision Dee can also project an image of the driver’s avatar onto the side window to further personalize the welcome scenario.
Reductive design – inside and out
The design of BMW i Vision Dee has been deliberately pared down to focus attention on the digital experience and the DNA of the BMW brand. The exterior is defined by the classic three-box sedan design that forms the core of the BMW brand.
Traditional design elements, like the BMW kidney grille, twin circular headlights and the Hofmeister kink, are reimagined, with phygital icons replacing analogue elements. This gives BMW i Vision Dee its own digital, but human, character, the company said.
Inside, digitalization goes hand in hand with reductive use of materials, operating controls and displays to ensure nothing distracts from the digital experience and the new feeling of enhanced driving pleasure. The unconventional design of the steering wheel, with its central vertical spoke, creates touchpoints that come to life when approached or touched and can be operated by moving the thumb, BMW said.
These phygital touchpoints control selection of the content projected onto the windscreen and, together with the heads-up display, thus support the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road,” BMW said.
“With BMW i Vision Dee, we are showing how the car can be seamlessly integrated into your digital life and become a trusty companion. The vehicle itself becomes your portal to the digital world – with the driver always in control,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design, in a statement. “Implemented the right way, technology will create worthwhile experiences, make you a better driver and simply bring humans and machines closer together.”
The road to the Neue Klasse
The future of the BMW Group is electric, circular and digital. BMW i Vision Dee represents the digital aspect of this trio and will be another milestone on the road to the next vehicle generation, the Neue Klasse. The BMW Group will provide further insights and glimpses of the revolutionary vehicle concept of the Neue Klasse over the course of 2023.
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