Active, constantly shifting aerodynamics and a seamless shift from autonomous driving to hands-on interaction are how BMW envisions the future of driving. Those ideas are the centrepiece of its Vision Next 100 concept car, built around an in-car Companion AI that alerts the driver to road hazards and driving info with augmented reality and a heads-up display, as well as a dashboard built around 800 ‘alive geometry’ lights that adjust their illumination to point out ideal driving lines or mark potential dangers ahead.
The Vision Next 100 concept car is a one-off vehicle made to celebrate BMW’s 100-year anniversary, and to throw a few ideas out about how the next 100 years might look. Aerodynamic improvement, for example, is a huge part of the Vision’s design — to the point that the car’s wheels and tyres are hidden behind flexible covers that move when the steering wheel is turned and contribute to an extremely low 0.18 coeffient of drag.
There’s a lot of talk around what autonomous cars might look like and how they might work in the future, but BMW seems set on there still being the option for users to take control themselves; the in-car Companion can switch between Boost and Ease modes, where efficiency and hands-off driving is traded for hands-on and full power. In human-oriented Boost mode the steering wheel pops out from the dash and is angled towards the driver, and the virtual HUD displayed on the windscreen shows performance driving stats.
Built for four passengers, the Vision is made primarily out of recycled materials and environmentally-friendly renewable resources — like BMW’s i8 and i3, the Vision Next 100 Concept sees a future where the company uses less wood and less leather in its interiors.