In the constantly changing world we live in, population growth is one of the biggest challenges we face – especially in cities. It is up to us, as a society and as a company, to find answers. To this end, the BMW Group develops products that can adapt to new needs and changing habits: like the BMW Vision iNEXT, a vehicle that embodies our mobility concept for the future. At the AD Design Summit 2018 in Munich, the BMW Group’s head designer, Adrian van Hooydonk, explained why the BMW Vision iNEXT is more than just a car.
Home is no longer just a place; it’s more like a feeling we take with us wherever we go. That was one of the main ideas behind the development of the BMW Vision iNEXT. The vehicle of the future no longer functions purely as a means of transport – it is also a place for relaxation and social interaction. Depending on the situation, the driver can modify the vehicle to suit their needs and decide whether they want to drive for themselves or be driven, by switching between “Ease” and “Boost” modes. The BMW Vision iNEXT is fully connected, all-electric and highly autonomous – meaning that time spent in the car can be used for whatever the customer chooses.
When technology becomes invisible.
The vehicles of the future must adapt to our new way of living. The BMW Group’s head designer, Adrian van Hooydonk, agrees. Together with his team, he always develops new solutions that fuse the BMW Group’s technical innovations with the design language of each individual vehicle. In the case of the BMW Vision iNEXT, the BMW Group has redefined “Sheer driving pleasure” – and not just from a technology standpoint. A more natural, more intuitive mobility experience is created, thanks to “Shy Tech” materials integrated into the vehicle, the car’s unusual design and its transformable interior. Apart from the steering wheel and display in the driver’s area, the intelligent technology in the interior remains out of sight and only becomes visible and operable when the driver wants to use it. Vehicle functions can be controlled intuitively through the wooden centre console or the Jacquard fabric of the rear seat. LEDs woven into the material take gesture control to a whole new level. In “Ease” mode, the steering wheel and pedals are automatically retracted to create a unique sense of space – and the BMW Vision iNEXT is transformed into a “Favourite Space” on four wheels. With clear lines, natural colours and geometric elements, the design creates a positive emotional feeling that underpins the vehicle’s premium character. People and their needs take centre-stage – while the vehicle’s technology is kept deliberately in the background.
Does everyone still want to own a car?
These days, more than half the world’s population lives in major cities. Mobility services like DriveNow and ReachNow will be increasingly important, as the increase in traffic means mobility has to become more individual – not only to reduce traffic, but also because younger generations no longer want to own a car. And then there is the overloaded parking situation in cities: “Soon, the car will park itself and autonomously pick up the user at their desired location,” explains Hooydonk. This means parking spaces for autonomous vehicles could also be located outside of the city to create more living space for inhabitants. From carsharing to privately-owned vehicles, everywhere the focus is on people’s individual needs – because mobility is an important part of our lives.
Autonomous driving and growing connectivity will fundamentally change the mobility experience. This vision of individual mobility will be entering series production in 2021, in the shape of the BMW iNEXT, and paving the way for a new era. This is another area where the BMW Group seeks to make a decisive contribution in the future. Adrian von Hooydonk is sure: “The most exciting, most impressive moments of my career still lie ahead.”
The BMW Group has produced many success stories. The BMW i brand is one of them – and a very special one at that. It has already been 10 years since the BMW Group, ahead of everyone else, made electromobility the focus of its Strategy NUMBER ONE and created BMW i – today, one of the world’s leading premium brands for electric models. With its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, the BMW Group now aims to expand this lead and continue positioning BMW i as the company’s innovation driver. This is also shown by the BMW iNEXT, which will go into series production in 2021.
Electromobility, emission-free cars and autonomous driving. The mobility of the future is certainly taking off – quite literally, in fact, at the BMW Group. The BMW Vision iNEXT was not only designed for the future, but also presented to the public in a cargo plane during its “World Flight”. Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development, explains why this provided the perfect setting and talks about the visions the BMW Vision iNEXT aims to realise.
The first BMW debuted on the market in 1929. Since then, sheer driving pleasure has been transformed many times over. We now drive cars that can park themselves, stay in their lane – even brake for us in dangerous situations. And, in the future? Soon, we will also be able to decide whether to drive for ourselves or be driven – thanks to autonomous vehicles. But did you know it can also be fun? That is what most amazed people at a closed test circuit in Berlin in October, when they took a self-driving prototype of a BMW i3 (Level 4/5) for a spin.