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BMW Offers a Tantalizing Prototype for the Future of Autonomous Cars

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BMW Offers a Tantalizing Prototype for the Future of Autonomous Cars

Want to learn more about BMW's new prototype? Check out this post to learn more about the BMW Vision iNEXT prototype and the future of autonomous cars.

· IoT Zone ·
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This week, BMW released the details of the  BMW Vision iNEXT. Highly automated, emission-free, and fully connected, it brings together the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields into a Vision Vehicle for the first time and provides revealing answers to the question: “What does a vehicle look like when it no longer needs to be driven by a person but can be if desired?”  

The Vision iNEXT offers some interesting insights into the next generation of cars and is intended to enter production in 2021. It's an electric vehicle with the capacity to provide autonomous functionality between levels 3 and 5. 

Some Interesting Features

Shy Tech

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This is an innovative technology integrated out of sight yet always available. Apart from the steering wheel and displays in the driver’s area, there are no other screens or controls to be seen. Instead,  BMW is developing a future where touching surfaces, such as wood or cloth, can automate functions. 

Intelligent Personal Assistant

The vehicle’s Intelligent Personal Assistant switches on in response to the prompt “Hey BMW." It seamlessly interlinks with the BMW Connected, smart devices, and smart home network, making it possible for drivers to close the windows of their house, for example, by voice command.

Intelligent Materials

Drivers can choose to either drive themselves (in “Boost” mode) or be driven (“Ease” mode). “Boost” mode uses the electric drive system to deliver a highly dynamic and virtually silent driving experience with zero emissions.

In “Ease” mode, the vehicle offers the driver and passengers a space in which to engage in a wide range of activities. When driving in “Boost” mood, the Control Display can be operated in conventional style using its touch functionality. But in “Ease” mode, the center console’s wooden surface assumes this control function instead. 

Intelligent Beam

Intelligent Beam technology being showcased in the BMW Vision iNEXT already goes one step in this direction, as it can serve as both a reading light and an interactive projection screen. This enables, for instance, the text in a printed book to be supplemented by images, moving content and interactive graphics, all of which can be controlled by touch.

The Car as a Third Place 

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BMW promotes Vision iNEXT as a place of relaxation, interaction, entertainment, or concentration. The possibilities are as manifold as the occupants’ needs. Accordingly, the cabin is more akin to a comfortable and fashionably furnished “living space” on wheels — a new “favorite space."

This is one of the most interesting aspects of autonomous vehicles. Sociologists, like Ray Oldenburg, have been promoting the theory of  “‘a third place” since the 1980’s, places outside work where people can enjoy a good atmosphere and the company of others. Research by Intel last year suggests that this will be one of the uses of self-driving cars during the journey, with in-vehicle services in industries, like hotel and hospitality, restaurant and dining, tourism and entertainment, healthcare, and service delivery of all kinds. Their research focused on the yet-to-be-realized economic potential when today’s drivers become idle passengers. Coining the “Passenger Economy,” they predict an explosive economic trajectory growing from $800 billion in 2035 to $7 trillion by 2050.

What Will We Do in Vehicles When We Are Not Driving?

If we assume a conservative 300 million workers — less than 10 percent of all workers globally — drive to work an average of 30 minutes per day, this equates to over 60 billion hours per year of time spent driving that could be freed due to pilotless vehicles. This leaves their commuting time ripe for engagement by new services and new delivery models of current services. In-car services may include onboard beauty salons, touch-screen tablets for remote collaboration, fast-casual dining, remote vending, mobile healthcare clinics and treatment pods, and even platooning pod hotels. Media and content producers will develop custom content formats to match short and long travel times.

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By the time we hit a level 5 vehicle autonomy and people are no longer driving themselves or others, Intel suggests we will shift to a model of Mobility-as-a-Service in effect a peripheral economy, where the car can contain and facilitate a range of functions. Mobility service providers will offer both on-demand and contract or subscription models that offer transportation as an amenity to their core retailing products or services. Over time service, application. and content revenue generated by Mobility-as-a-Service will supplant the value of vehicle sales as core sources of shareholder value creation.

If we assume a conservative 300 million workers — less than 10 percent of all workers globally — drive to work an average of 30 minutes per day, this equates to over 60 billion hours per year of time spent driving that could be freed due to pilotless vehicles. This leaves their commuting time ripe for engagement by new services and new delivery models of current services. In-car services may include onboard beauty salons, touch-screen tablets for remote collaboration, fast-casual dining, remote vending, mobile healthcare clinics and treatment pods, and even platooning pod hotels. Media and content producers will develop custom content formats to match short and long travel times.

 It’s becoming an increasingly crowded space as technologists compete to be first to the line with road-ready vehicles once level 3-5 cars become more mainstream. It may be a while until we see can sit in our virtual office, but there’s no shortage of technologists waiting with bated breath.

Photographs of future vehicles by Ideo and BMW

Topics:
bmw ,autonomous cars ,autonomous driving ,the third place ,IoT ,Vision iNEXT ,driverless

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