BMW brings i Vision Future Interaction Concept to CES 2016

Article by Andrew Christian, on January 8, 2016

BMW Group showcased its i Vision Future Interaction Concept at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Based on the BMW i8 Concept Spyder, the Concept Car BMW i Vision Future Interaction will be used to show visitors one of the possible layouts of future user interface. For instance, the Vision Car employs high-resolution vehicle displays in which the content aptly responds to the situation.

Likewise, all functions can be controlled through voice, gestures or touch surfaces – thereby rendering human-to-vehicle interaction as intuitive as possible. While the Vision Car features an interior compartment so focused that it could fully support the driver while driving manually, it also allows the pilot to relax on its well-designed seats during a highly automated mode. Likewise, drivers – during auto mode – can also access the expanded content shown on the central information display.

Interestingly, the digital content will be optimally present according to the adjustments made by the vehicle to the drive mode and the surrounding environment. Before commencing a trip, a driver could check pertinent information like charge status using their smart phone, smart watch or Mobility Mirror. These are then transferred seamlessly to the appropriate menus, map displays and driver information on the panorama display in the BMW i Vision Future Interaction.

Amazingly, the BMW i Vision Future Interaction features a high-resolution Head-Up Display and an instrument cluster with 3D display, as well as a 21-inch panorama display that extends over nearly the entire passenger side. The HUD – which is seen just within the field of vision on the front windscreen -- shows a number of key data and information like speed, speed limits or navigation information. On the other hand, the instrument cluster is placed just behind the steering wheel, displaying information in 3D.

This cluster presents to the driver an array of related information like speed, consumption and range, as well as about vehicles on the road ahead or oncoming vehicles not yet on the driver's field of vision – thereby allowing quick responses to any traffic situation. Even during highly automated driving, the system will alert the driver if there is a need to assume control of the vehicle. Since the system is predictive, it gives the driver between five to seven seconds to respond to any road situation.

Meanwhile, the BMW i Vision Future Interaction's 21-inch central panorama display – around 40 cm wide -- is easily one of the vehicle's most striking features. It seems to flow from the dashboard panel, extending from the center console to the passenger side. With an 11-inch display height, dashboard panel would not be higher than in the BMW i8. Additionally, this height allows the driver to get an optimum view of the front. When a driver enters the vehicle, the panorama display will show the content provided by the vision of the Open Mobility Cloud from BMW.

The content can also be automatically accessed on a smart phone through the BMW Connected App. The panorama display adjusts automatically and accordingly to the drive mode of the BMW i Vision Future Interaction. The system performs an automatic switch from pure audio to video calls during fully automated mode. Likewise, drivers and passengers could optionally have unrestricted access to Web content, mails or audiovisual offerings.

So to minimize driving distraction and to allow the driver to focus on the road ahead, the displayed information on the large panorama display will be in reduced scope. On the other hand, the number of control elements has been trimmed down to a minimum in the BMW i Vision Future Interaction, retaining only the most important ones. For instance, the BMW i Vision Future Interaction has the drive mode selector switch – placed on the left-hand side of the steering wheel – that can be used to choose between the three drive modes: Pure Drive, Assist and Auto Mode. In the Pure Drive mode, the driver is given almost full control of the vehicle, with assistance systems used passively.

Moreover, these systems only provide warning alerts without interfering in the control. Meanwhile, the "Assist" mode paves for optimum networking with the environment. Vehicle systems will determine the best route in real time and then send the data into the navigation system. This mode supports the driver's performance of the driver while actively intervening actively if there’s a safety risk. On the other hand, the "Auto Mode" lets vehicle control sideways and forward orientation.

The vehicle itself will take care of acceleration, braking and steering. This mode is expected to be permitted on certain roads. Likewise, the BMW i Vision Future Interaction proactively alerts drivers –the steering wheel illuminates in blue – if they’re in a zone for highly automated driving, and they could select the "Auto mode" as appropriate. If the vehicle leaves that zone and the driver has to resume control of the steering wheel, the steering wheel illuminates in red. Human-to-machine interface in the BMW i Vision Future Interaction could be done in three ways: AirTouch gestures, touching sensitive surfaces and voice.

AirTouch allows drivers to control certain function like communication, information and entertainment, using just gestures to operate and select content on the large panorama display. This works through a number of sensors installed in the area of the dashboard panel that responds to hand movements. Just a simple hand movement on that area would visually highlight a selected icon. To activate that icon, the driver just needs to make a push gesture. That icon could also be activated by tapping an AirTouch switch located on the steering wheel. This switch will briefly light up if a menu or icon can be activated.

Moreover, passengers could access the menu through a button located on the side panel. This button allows them to use one hand to navigate through the menu and then confirm a selection with the other hand. AirTouch menus appear as large tiles, four of which are located beside each other on the display. Menus displayed depend on the context in which the system is operating. For instance, if streaming music is being played, buttons are displayed on the one tile that allows drivers to go forward or backwards on the titles, or even to start or stop playing. AirTouch features an intelligent menu control that reduces selection steps.

This system determines and shows only the needed control steps in the display. Because of this element, the driver could better focus on the road ahead. Likewise, this element allows for a more convenient menu selection during highly automated mode. To allow a more user-friendly touch control, BMW installed touch-sensitive surfaces in the wide and proportioned central console.

Likewise, there is a sensitive control surface located beneath the leather upholstery, allowing the driver or passenger to navigate through the menus or options simply by using finger gestures like on a smart phone -- tapping, swiping or sliding. Moreover, drivers or passenger could access entertainment and information systems in the BMW i Vision Future Interaction by providing spoken control commands.

Switching from one driving mode to another does not only change the color of the steering wheel, but also the character of the interior. If the driver switches to highly automated mode, the cabin would suddenly become more spacious. This is achieved by making the steering wheel move forward by several centimeters and by changing the character of the sports seats. Certain features in the side upholstery give the sports seats a lounge profile, thereby allowing drivers to turn more to the right in a more relaxed position.

Furthermore, the seat features extended headrest and an aptly sized central armrest. These elements were designed to allow drivers to feel more relaxed during highly automated driving. If drivers want to take control again, enablers are provided in the ergonomic design of the seat and steering wheel.

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