Technology | The car of tomorrow will (above all) make us happy
car Cult or simple thing? In the era of energy transition and autonomous driving, the question arises because of the leveling that these two advances will do between all brands. In this subject, historical manufacturers, in particular, drive at the end of the wheels. Since then, they have pretended to revive the imagination of the car.
Especially among the younger generation who usually associate this 19th century inventione century to an obstacle rather than to the satisfaction of a desire. To attract it, tomorrow has to lead itself, to reassure us. And entertain us too. In other words, everything in a car that allows you to do something other than hold the steering wheel.
BMW presented at CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) its vision of individual mobility. This is called DEE (Digital Emotional Experience). A conceptual study that aims not only to form an emotional bond with its occupants, but also to provide them with an unprecedented virtual and physical experience. “Whoever achieves this technological mesh will control the future of the automobile”, thinks Frank Weber, head of development on the board of directors of BMW.
Driving, a game
A few weeks before its presentation in the American capital of the game, BMW invited several international journalists to experience the propeller brand’s research in the field of virtual driving. A BMW M2, a virtual eye helmet, and we hit the road.
We are driving on a sodden circuit in the sunlight, but for whoever is behind the wheel, the car is speeding, in the middle of the night, towards a futuristic city on a translucent track. It is scattered with BMW logos that need to be touched to earn points.
Would you rather see gold coins, melons? Why not, the possibilities are endless. This is what BMW calls “Mixed Reality”, which should bring “new freedom”, its developers believe. This is an important part of learning DEE. The latter does not require a virtual helmet to move to another world because it appears on the windshield and on all the windows surrounding the vehicle. In addition to this change of scenery, the windshield also acts as a dashboard, traditional and important instruments and connections vying for a place on this glass surface.
In a rare minimalism, the passenger compartment has no physical controls. The opening of the doors, for example, is backlit on the inner door covered with a canvas of white canvas. The steering wheel controls use the same principle and light up when thumbs stroke the edge of the rim.
From the outside, DEE hides its game well, presented in the form of a saloon whose appearance will remind over 40 of yesterday’s BMWs. However, all generations will have no problem identifying its double grille, the brand’s signature since 1933. Here it is embedded in a black film with light-emitting diodes that reveal the headlights that shape you dictate (round, rectangle, square, or even triangle, if you like).
A timeless, classic style, but the shopper of tomorrow can personalize as often as he wants. This also applies to lights and wheels.
The Munich brand is currently conducting some experiments to mix the rims, like when we dye the spokes of the wheels of our bicycles with straws, kids.
Logical continuation of the E Ink project presented a year ago, which allows you to change the color of the bodywork in seconds. This process consists of covering the outer walls with a thin film composed of microcapsules that, using an alternating current, bring colored pigments to the surface. Yesterday, the palette was limited to black and white; today, BMW can build all the colors of the rainbow and more.
However, two questions remain unanswered. How much will it cost to buy this chameleon on wheels? And how will this innovation react when it passes through the brushes of a car wash?