BMW is shaping the future of mobility and the way we experience it through ongoing development projects and technically revolutionary innovations in automated driving, intelligent connectivity and interior design. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, taking place in Las Vegas on 5 – 8 January 2017, the German premium car maker will present a wide range of new products and services which are set to headline this radical change in the very near future.
It will also be revealing a vision of an interior whose architecture and user interface are extensively adapted for fully automated driving on board a vehicle that is seamlessly integrated into the driver’s digital life. The innovations BMW is presenting at the CES show in design, technology and functionality emphasize the company’s leading role over many years – through its ConnectedDrive program – in the field of connected driving.
BMW’s pioneering advances in the areas of automated driving, intelligent connectivity and control and display systems are closely interconnected. The company offers highly innovative systems and technologies in all these areas. Examples include the driver assistance systems available for the brand’s current model range, the BMW Connected digital mobility companion and intuitive and flexible control and display systems such as the Head-Up Display, BMW iDrive, voice control and BMW gesture control. Such technologies provide an ideal platform for innovations aimed at delivering a futuristic mobility experience defined by hallmark BMW characteristics.
Steady progress towards automated driving is reducing driver stress and offering drivers a new degree of freedom in how they use their time in the car. At the same time, intelligent connectivity between vehicles, drivers and the outside world is creating new scope for efficient, creative and stimulating use of this freed-up time. At the CES 2017 show, BMW will be showcasing the potential of connected mobility with demonstration drives in a prototype based on the new BMW 5 Series Sedan. This will provide an opportunity to experience innovative digital services underpinned by BMW Connected and the flexible Open Mobility Cloud platform. BMW will also present the BMW Connected Window – its vision for an innovative digital touch-point highlighting the breadth of possible applications for BMW Connected services not only in the car but also in the home. Looking into the future of interior design, the focus will be on innovative display and control technology. The BMW i Inside Future sculpture at the CES show will showcase BMW HoloActive Touch, which marks a new dimension in how drivers select and control vehicle, navigation, infotainment and communication functions.
The future of personalized driving
Demonstration drives in the BMW 5 Series Sedan-based prototype will shine the spotlight on a personalized, connected driving experience in a highly automated vehicle. A variety of technical modifications to support automated driving, based on the research & development projects of autonomous driving, have been incorporated into the new BMW 5 Series for the purposes of the demonstrations. On specific route segments, drivers can hand over both longitudinal control tasks and lateral control to the assistance systems, which frees them up to concentrate on other activities. The sensor and control technology that makes it possible for drivers not only to delegate acceleration and braking to the vehicle but also to take their hands off the steering wheel for long periods at a stretch is based on a further-refined prototype solution based on the driver assistance systems already fitted in today’s production vehicles. This is another reminder of the high quality and potential of the technology already deployed in current BMW models.
From vision (CES 2016) to product (2017)
With ConnectedDrive, BMW was an early pioneer in enabling extensive in-car access to online infotainment and communication functions. In spring 2016, BMW went on to provide a digital platform – in the shape of BMW Connected – which customers can access not only in their BMW but also on a wide range of devices outside the vehicle. This allows mobility planning to be seamlessly integrated into users’ digital lifestyles, supporting them both on the road and in other areas of their daily lives. The concept of BMW Connected and the Open Mobility Cloud was first presented at CES 2016. The market launch in the USA took place soon after, in March 2016. BMW Connected has been available in Europe since August 2016, and China followed suit in the fourth quarter of 2016.
A further system presented by BMW at last year’s CES and likewise brought to market in record-quick time is the research application Remote 3D View. By combining the Surround View driver assistance system with BMW Connected connectivity features, this system allows a three-dimensional view of the vehicle and its surroundings to be transmitted via a mobile data connection to the driver’s smartphone. The service, which allows drivers to keep their eye on their parked vehicle at any time, regardless of their location, will make its production model debut in February 2017 on board the new BMW 5 Series Sedan.
BMW Connected turns the vehicle and mobile devices into touch-points for the Open Mobility Cloud. At CES 2017, BMW will be showcasing digital services that will allow drivers of future automated vehicles to optimise the way they plan their daily lives. One such feature will enable drivers to access wide-ranging information about places or buildings they see along their route. The information can be selected using BMW Augmented Gesture Control – a new form of gesture control – by pointing at a particular building, for example. The connected driving experience will also be enhanced by intelligent voice control. BMW Connected demos will feature a visionary concept of an in-car voice-controlled personal digital assistant that customers are familiar with in other areas of their daily life. The system being presented at CES 2017 is the in-car application of Microsoft’s Cortana. This means that the voice-controlled capabilities already offered by Microsoft Cortana on a home PC could or smartphone in future also be available on board a BMW. For example, BMW Connected can provide a reminder en-route of an upcoming appointment for which no location has yet been fixed. And Cortana can be used to make a suitable restaurant recommendation and reserve a table.
Another service possible with future versions of BMW Connected is delivery of tens of thousands of goods while the customer is on the road. Amazon Prime Now, which is integrated into all the user’s devices (both in and outside the vehicle) via the Open Mobility Cloud, enables goods to be ordered through the app while drivers are on the way to their next destination. The En-Route Delivery service will be presented at CES 2017 in conjunction with Amazon Prime Now.
A further example of this collaboration with Amazon Prime Now is BMW Passenger Mode. Based on the selected route, BMW Connected can tell when the vehicle will switch to automated driving and the driver could have time, say, to use Amazon Prime Video. In Passenger Mode, the vehicle can then adapt to the passengers’ needs in different situations. For instance, when rear-seat passengers start playing a video, the interior lighting is immediately dimmed and the sun-blinds closed.
Innovative control and display technologies
The BMW i Inside Future sculpture at CES 2017 focuses on the opportunities and challenges presented by fully automated driving. What will we be able to do in an interior of the future? What kind of experience will a car journey offer? BMW i Inside Future shows there will be no conflict between personalization and sharing in the car of the future. It also showcases BMW HoloActive Touch, BMW’s latest take on the future of in-car control and display technology.
BMW HoloActive Touch is the latest chapter in a story that began with BMW iDrive. That system, which was revolutionary when first introduced and was subsequently imitated throughout the automotive industry, was both a substitute for and a complement to conventional switches and buttons. With the Air Touch system, featured at CES 2016 in the BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept car, BMW presented a panoramic display that can be operated just like a touchscreen – except that there is no actual contact involved. Now this system has been taken a stage further with BMW HoloActive Touch. BMW HoloActive Touch fuses the advantages of the BMW Head-Up Display, BMW gesture control and intuitive touchscreen functionality with revolutionary technology to create a completely new kind of user interface for the vehicle interior of the future. This innovative interface between the driver and vehicle consists of a free-floating virtual display which is projected in the area above the center console. The system is operated directly by finger movements, while an ultrasound source provides tactile confirmation of the driver’s commands. That said, in neither case is there ever any actual contact between the driver and the user interface.
BMW Connected Window
The continuously expanding functionality of BMW Connected is based on the idea that the move towards ever-increasing digitization, whether on the move or in the home, is set to promote the extensive yet at the same time precisely personalized link-up of every area of our lives. Using the Open Mobility Cloud, BMW Connected will be seamlessly integrated into multiple digital touch-points. At CES 2017 BMW will be presenting the BMW Connected Window vision to illustrate the possibilities these developments offer for a personalized and intelligent enhancement of digital lifestyles. The BMW Connected Window integrates every type of information relevant for daily mobility planning. Using the Open Mobility Cloud, this virtual window offers digital functions to support personal daily planning and numerous other aspects of individual lifestyles.
The BMW Connected Window extends BMW Connected’s wide-ranging functionality to include digital life at home. It shows the user – at the relevant time and in the relevant area of the home – what actions may be required for personal mobility planning. Since the system is linked up with BMW Connected, exchanging information and contacts, planning the user’s personal mobility agenda and selecting infotainment functions are possible not just in the vehicle and on a smartphone but also on a “big screen” in the user’s own home. The technology is operated using gesture control, i.e. by intuitive touchscreen-style commands – but without actually touching a screen.