BMW unveils its vision for a self-driving electric car

BMW has unveiled its vision for a self-driving electric crossover SUV and, if it actually ends up being a lo...

Posted: Sep 16, 2018 8:05 PM
Updated: Sep 16, 2018 8:05 PM

BMW has unveiled its vision for a self-driving electric crossover SUV and, if it actually ends up being a lot like the concept version, it should be a pretty cozy place to hang out.

The BMW Vision iNext is a concept vehicle for now. But BMW executives said they plan to put something like it into production in 2021.

The car was unveiled inside the belly of a cargo plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Inside, BMW's executives displayed working versions of some of the technologies being considered for the car, including touch sensitive fabrics and interactive projections. As with any concept vehicle, it's not yet clear which aspects or capabilities will actually be in the production version.

The front end of the Vision iNext features a new version of BMW's trademark "kidney" grill, which features two rounded rectangles. In the Vision iNext, the rectangular shapes are connected by a broad center section, creating something like a massive letter H. This grill is largely cosmetic, however, since a large radiator isn't needed on a fully electric car. A major reason for this center section is to cover the front-mounted cameras and sensors that enable the car's self-driving capabilities.

The interior of the car has a deliberately crafted room-like ambience. The seats, walls and even the dashboard are covered in richly textured fabrics. Instead of the usual center console between the front seats there is a table-like structure with a metal base and an inlaid wooden top.

BMW engineers are working on technologies that would allow the wood surface of the table to be used like a touch pad. This is similar to the way, in BMW cars now, drivers can write letters with their fingers on top of a large plastic control knob. Occupants of the iNext may also be able to write letters and shapes with their fingers on the car's seat fabrics.

BMW executives also showed off a projection technology that allows a user to hold a light cardboard sheet in their lap to use as a sort of tablet computer. Images, which the user can interact with, are projected from above onto the sheet which can even be moved around as it used. The projection beam follows the pad so that it never slips off the page.

One prevailing theme in the design of the Vision iNext is that technology should be, as much as possible, invisible until needed. (BMW calls it "Shy-tech.") That helps the inside of the car be as comfortable and relaxing as possible. When the car is in self-driving mode, the steering wheel draws away from the driver and the brake and accelerator pedal retract into the floor. The front seat headrests also fold back so occupants can more easily see and speak with one another.

BMW has said it plans to design and engineer future models so they can all be produced with a choice of internal combustion, electric or hybrid power. That will allow the company to easily shift production of new cars to suit consumer and regulatory demands as they shift.

The Vision iNext was revealed to journalists at four different airports -- in Munich, New York, San Francisco and Beijing -- over the course of five days earlier this week. The vehicle was packed into an exhibition space inside a Lufthansa Cargo jet that flew to each of the cities in succession. Journalists were invited on board the plane to see the car and speak with company officials.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Florence
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Fayetteville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Scottsboro
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events