BMW is officially 100 years old. To celebrate, the automaker kicked off a year-long celebration Monday by rolling out its next-century concept car, the BMW Vision Next 100. And yes, it has our attention.
The car is pretty crazy by BMW standards. In other words, understated is not a word we’d use with it. It’s a sleek, attention-grabbing four-door packed with ideas for a future where autonomous cars will be the norm, if you so choose, anyway. You’ll note right off the bat that the car is designed for a person to be in the driver’s seat. There would be modes to drive autonomously or not.
The concept shows off BMW’s overall direction for the future – one that is about creating highly customizable, connected, autonomous cars that that learn from people and make their lives easier. The philosophy is in line with what we heard from BMW’s lead R&D board member last week.
— BMW (@BMW) March 7, 2016
“We have demonstrated on many occasions throughout our history that we are capable of learning fast and taking bold steps,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the Centenary Event in Munich on Monday.
The entire windshield of the BMW Vision Next 100 is an augmented reality display, which isn’t a total shocker. It also embeds driver-vehicle interactive technology called Alive Geometry that essentially reads driver gestures.
In terms of design, BMW plans to make its cars highly interactive with moving interiors. As in, the steering wheel can contract, the headrests and turn to the side and the front seats can actually turn and face each other.
“If, as a designer, you are able to imagine something, there’s a good chance it could one day become reality,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. “So our objective with the BMW Vision Next 100 was to develop a future scenario that people would engage with.”
One big thing BMW surprisingly fails to mention, however, is anything about a future powertrain.
Here’s what we also know about BMW’s plans to make all of this happen. The automaker plans to beef up its in-house technology efforts by adding more computer programmers to its R&D team. The plan is to make half of its R&D staff computer programmers, up from 20 percent of its current 30,000 force R&D team.
BMW also wants to develop and license more of its own software in order to speed up technological advancements throughout the industry.
Photo Credit: BMW