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EuroNews: Hans Zimmer Composes a Soundtrack for the BMW i4, Will Tesla Catch Up?

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Hans Zimmer is the man behind the music. Having written film scores for hits like The Lion King and Interstellar, the German composer is now working on a series of mini-soundtracks to feature in the 2021 all-electric BMW i4. The electric car is anticipated to be the first genuine rival to Tesla’s Model 3. Zimmer’s soundtracks will not only be exclusive to this model, they will set the tone (quite literally) for the sound of all future electric BMWs.

What do electric vehicles (EVs) sound like? At low speeds, EVs and hybrids can be near-silent. This has led experts to believe that, compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts, they are 37% and 57% more likely to cause low-speed accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, says a 2011 study by the US National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration.

As a result, currently new models, and by July 2021 all new electric cars, must now be fitted with Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems (AVAS) in the EU. These systems emit a continuous noise when moving 20 kilometres per hour or slower or when reversing, helping to alert pedestrians.

BMW licenced
Hans Zimmer with sound designer Renzo VitaleBMW licenced

SO, WHAT SHOULD FILL THE SILENCE?

Well, safety is the primary purpose, “but there is still room to inject the brand personality and differentiate it from others in the competitive space,” says sound designer Connor Moore, who has worked on the audio branding for Tesla and Google/Waymo cars. While early approaches to AVAS sounds opted for either emulating Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) or a plain and simple electric motor noise, we are now starting to see more creative approaches. “We have an opportunity to take an atonal ICE tone and craft something [] to create a very specific emotion – which is powerful,” says Connor.

When it comes to an engine-emulating AVAS system, there are pros and cons. Kota Kobayashi, design lead at EV manufacturer Arrival, tells Euronews Living, “people already recognise the sound, so there is no need to educate the meaning of the sound. But if we were to communicate various levels of risk to pedestrians, it may be difficult to do so by the sound of the combustion engine alone.”

SHOULD EV MANUFACTURERS START THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX?

BMW is certainly breaking away from legislation-imposed sounds, with Zimmer and collaborator Renzo Vitale composing what the manufacturer refer to as “sound worlds”. These will apply to the exterior, the AVAS, as well as the opening of car doors, and a special start/stop musical theme will apply to the concept version of the i4. Maybe we can even expect an Interstellar-esque docking theme to sound out as you connect the electric BMW to a charging station? Connor says “simplicity” is key when composing these sounds.

“We don’t want to be heavy-handed or overly rich or complex for a turn signal or seatbelt chime. To me, good sound design is almost transparent. It should be something you notice and love, but should live more in the subconscious.”

One might assume that it would be cutting-edge EV brand Tesla choosing to go leftfield and employing the skills of a film composer, rather than BMW, the German car manufacturer steeped in history. While the Tesla Model 3s were fitted with an AVAS system in the US from September 2019, it is one of the only EV manufacturers that is yet to experiment sonically.

DO AVAS SYSTEMS TAINT THE POSSIBILITIES OF A QUIETER CITY OF THE FUTURE?

Every year 1.6 million ‘healthy life’ years are lost in European cities due to environmental noise, primarily traffic, states the World Health Organisation. Increased risk of heart disease, stress-related mental health issues, tinnitus and cognitive impairment among children are some of the main health risks. An adaptive AVAS system could be used to emit noise at a quieter level when in a suburban area at night time, where the sound level is often 40dB or lower.

What’s more, researchers at the Danish Road Directorate found EVs to be 4-5dB less noisy at low speeds than the equivalent petrol-powered car, proving a switch to electric would still have a significant impact in reducing noise pollution.

“We have an opportunity here to potentially design a quieter world,” says Connor.

At this rate, cities of the future could end up sounding like the sci-fi clamours from Blade Runner 2049, but will other manufacturers choose to follow in BMW and Audi’s creative footsteps?

Read the full article at euronews.com

NY Times: The Soundtrack to an Electric Car

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The film composer Hans Zimmer is creating a sonic signature for BMW’s forthcoming electric i4 sedan.

By Stephen Williams

When General Maximus — that’s Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” — leads his Roman legions into battle, Hans Zimmer’s bombastic, percussive score propels them to victory.

As hundreds of bedraggled British troops waging World War II await a tenuous evacuation from the beaches of “Dunkirk,” Mr. Zimmer’s tick-tock effects mirror their anxiety and urgency.

As the 1976 Formula One championship roils toward a climax in “Rush,” Mr. Zimmer’s synthesizer is there on the rain-soaked track in Japan, fueling the fight.

And when a driver starts up his or her electric-powered BMW i4 sedan later this year or next, Hans Zimmer will be riding shotgun, so to speak, creating a sonic signature for the car, because electric motors make little sound.

“I can sum it up, from Day 1 to now: It’s never finished, it’s always an experiment,” Mr. Zimmer said recently in a phone interview from London. “We’ve been trying to create sounds which are aesthetically pleasing and calming — sort of anti-road rage.”

So don’t expect to hear the growl of an overtuned V-8, the bark of an amplified exhaust, the screech of tires digging for grip. Mr. Zimmer wants to take you to a different place. “It’s something that transports you in the most elegant way possible,” he said. “We are trying to make your life less chaotic, more beautiful.”

But beyond aesthetics and marketing, enhancing an electric car with sounds is a legal issue as well. In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted rules in 2018 that say electric cars must make some artificial sounds. Congress made it a requirement that light-duty hybrids and electrics emit noise as a safety measure for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with a visual impairment.

The European Parliament has mandated that electrics sold in Europe will have to “sound similar” to cars with combustion engines at speeds below 20 kilometers an hour. The rule is to take full effect in 2021.

So far, BMW is alone in hiring a composer with Mr. Zimmer’s repertoire, and this work is a labor of love for the 62-year-old, German-born musician. He said the Bavarians “came to me” to accept the work, “although a half-hour later I had an email from another company to create something for an electric car.”

“But I grew up with BMW. My family always drove BMWs,” he added. “There was an emotional connection there.”

The BMW Concept i4. “We’re not building racecars here,” Mr. Zimmer said. “We’re taking you on a different journey.”

Certainly, the German carmaker isn’t alone is seeking ways to fill in the sonic voids that are inherent in electric cars. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have assigned development teams to work toward similar ends for their electrics, as have Jaguar, Nissan, General Motors and others.

“The electric vehicle sound is its identity,” Frank Welsch, responsible for technical development at Volkswagen, told Reuters last year. “It cannot be too intrusive or annoying. It has to be futuristic, and it cannot sound like anything we had in the past.”

BMW’s soundtrack is very much a work in progress for Mr. Zimmer and his partner in the project, Renzo Vitale, the automaker’s sound designer. Mr. Zimmer, who maintains an exotic sound laboratory in Santa Monica, Calif., is fitting it in between his film work: He was putting the finishing touches on his score for the new James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” (which has been delayed until November) when we spoke in mid-March.

He explained that, in his view, the “BMW IconicSounds Electric” commission was more about deleting than adding. “Too much information would automatically be distracting,” he said. “If you look at the great pieces of art, it’s usually the simplicity that makes them great.”

Mr. Zimmer was asked if the rather chaotic soundtrack he created for “Rush” might somehow translate to excite the experience of an electric car, much the way a loud, vibrating exhaust might affect a driver’s senses.

“‘Rush’ is not about your normal day of enjoying your car,” he said. “We’re not building racecars here. We’re taking you on a different journey.”

Some of the created sounds released so far by BMW have been described in rather esoteric terms. One white paper from the company calls out a “liminal threshold” with sound that is “manifold” and “chameleonic” with “presence that is subtle but unavoidable.” Among the tones to reach the listeners’ ears are those with mid- to high frequencies, low frequencies and a “dynamic pulse train” that provides a “throbbing sensation.”

Mr. Zimmer, who doesn’t try to describe these “compositions” in sentences (he is the first to allow that it’s nearly impossible to describe music with words), has a somewhat more ethereal view.

“A car can be the most beautiful form of solitude, yet there’s the companionship you get from the engine,” he said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is to create sounds which are aesthetically rather pleasing and calming.”

At the same time, said Mr. Vitale, the sounds that may be used to identify the car’s start/stop systems, for example, are “intended to instill a sense of excitement.”

As for the composer, “I’m still trying to get closer to the truth,” Mr. Zimmer said. “How am I going to connect the humans to the machine? How am I going to give you the freedom in this world I create to be an individual and tell your own story?”

He sighed, then said, “Our rubbish bins are full of dead sounds, things which seemed hopeful and exciting and then turned out to be going in the wrong direction.”

See the full story and more at nytimes.com

Wired: BMW’s i4 Electric Concept Comes With a Hans Zimmer Score

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To fill the aural vacuum left by the disappearance of the engine, BMW brought in a ringer.

By Brett Berk.

Thelma & Louise. Rain Man. The Lion King. True Romance. Interstellar. Dunkirk. Each film works to take its viewers on an emotional journey, and each leans on a shared tool: a Hans Zimmer score that serves as a guide, signaling joy, grief, conflict, passion, and more in turn. Now, though, the Oscar-winning composer has turned his talents away from the silver screen and toward the windscreen, where he’s found a new vehicle that could use a touch of emotional direction: the electric car.

Along with more than 500 horsepower and a range of 370 miles, BMW’s all-electric Concept i4 comes with music by Zimmer. These mini scores, which BMW calls “sound worlds,” will ripple out their smoothly vibrant vibrato—think Lionel Hampton on the theremin—when the doors open, as the car starts up, and as the car drives along the road.

On the i4, a concept four-door coupe BMW unveiled earlier this month, the composition morphs slightly based the car’s current driving modes, whether “core,” “sport,” or “efficient.” Zimmer and his collaborator, BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale, call the i4’s soundtrack “Limen,” the word for the threshold below which a stimuli can’t be perceived. It’s all about connecting sound to an emotional experience, which in this case happens to be driving on battery power instead of watching Rafiki hoist Simba into the air.

“We are at a moment in time, with electric cars, when we get to change the whole sonic landscape of everything in a vehicle,” Zimmer says. “We can allow the interiors of cars to set moods and give people an experience, to let people devise their own experience, not be forced into the rumbling of a petrol engine anymore.”

Zimmer’s BMW sound worlds are in concept form now, but the company intends to roll them out over the next few years on more than two dozen electric vehicles. That will start with the production version of the i4, later in 2021.

The key here is that by replacing a rumbling engine with a silent battery and whirring motors, BMW and every other automaker are ditching the sonic experience that has been part of the automobile for more than a century. Car lovers may miss the angry sewing machine clack of a Porsche 911’s flat-six, the throaty grumble and whine of a supercharged Dodge Hemi V8, or the cranial wail of a Ferrari V-12. So might unsuspecting new EV buyers. Without the rumpus of an internal combustion engine, wind roar and tire slap sound all the louder. Zimmer and Vitale strive not just to mask those perturbances but to add delight and uplift to the driving experience.

BMW’s i4 (shown here in concept form) will be the first car to carry a Hans Zimmer score when it enters production late next year. COURTESY OF BMW

“Think about your morning, where you have to go and start your car and go to your job,” Zimmer says. “Wouldn’t it be nice if the starting sound was something beautiful, something that put a smile on your face, something that makes your day better?”

The score does sound energizing and engaging, especially in the symphonically crescendoing “sport” mode. It definitely doesn’t sound “rumbling.” But it has some additional, and perhaps questionable, 1970s sci-fi movie overtones.

“There’s this idea that all battery electric cars should sound like a spaceship,” says Jonathan Pierce, senior research and development manager for Harman, a sound engineering firm that supplies the automotive industry with stereo systems, speakers, noise-cancellation equipment, and electric vehicle soundtracks–both internal and external. “Unfortunately, we don’t know what a spaceship sounds like, right? None of us have ever heard a spaceship before.”

Pierce is working with consumers as well as client automakers to create a relevant vocabulary for the sounds they will soon be adding to the interiors and—as regulation requires—exteriors of electric vehicles. Following recent research, his team came up with 40 different terms ranging from, as Pierce says, “something really progressive and futuristic—the pulsing, the whirring, the droning—all the way up to something more aggressive.”

The goal here is not just to update our terminology for car sounds, but to assist with their identification and branding. And there, Pierce’s work aligns with Zimmer’s. The composer’s parents always drove BMWs, and he could pick out the unique tone of their Bimmer from the balcony. “When I heard that sound,” he says, “everything was fine. Safety. Mom and Dad were home.”

Likewise, contemporary carmakers want to create soundtracks that will help people identify, and identify with, their vehicles. And because this sound is no longer tied to a physical source, like an engine, the potential choices are boundless. Which presents automakers with a new kind of quandary.

“Everybody wants to have something iconic,” Pierce says, pointing to how Harley Davidson attempted to patent the sound of its motorcycles’ exhaust note. So he wants his team to create the tones that will distinguish a Ford EV from a Hyundai EV. “These need to not only be very unique sounds, they need to be pleasing,” Pierce says. “Almost like a piece of jewelry that you wear and you hope other people envy.”

Maybe you’re wondering if all of this runs counter to one of the core promises of electric cars, the luxury of silence at speed. But Zimmer argues that for many, silence is unnerving, especially at speed. It can feel uncanny, unmoored from the physical processes that provide acceleration. When Zimmer scored Interstellar, he played on that feeling to convey the awe of rocket travel. The blastoff was the loudest moment of the film, and he blew out a few speaker systems before getting it right. But then the score goes silent. “That’s when everything was at astronomical speeds,” Zimmer says.

In any case, people aren’t seeking total silence. As automakers got better at isolating their customers from engine noise with better insulation, double-paned windows, and active noise cancellation, some customers complained. So manufacturers started piping engine noise into the cabin. BMW went further, playing artificial tunes through the stereo system. Some of this desire for sound at speed, or sound correlated to speed, may be out of habit, a generational quest for the familiar, the way that the keyboards on smart phones still make typing noises, or the cameras on smart phones still make shutter clicks. Zimmer thinks that this may vanish over time. “I think it’s sort of important to leave nostalgia behind,” he says.

Then he reconsiders. “As I said that, I suddenly remembered that every sci-fi movie we have ever seen is incredibly nostalgic.” He points to Blade Runner and Interstellar. Perhaps our dreams of the future are always enmeshed with our fantasies of the past. And our dream cars will always sound like the vehicles from our outmoded idea of the future, like something out of The Jetsons, because that’s what reassures us.

Zimmer sees his automotive work as fostering the way a car catalyzes this kind of big-picture thinking. “A car is such a great place to think, it’s such a great place to dream and have your own thoughts,” he says. “The car is the perfect private place to have constantly great ideas.”

Read the full story at Wired.com

ABC News: Famed composer Hans Zimmer’s new score: Giving sound to an electric car

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The renowned composer worked on the sound design for the BMW Vision M NEXT.

Written by Morgan Korn for ABC News.

The 600-horsepower supercar on display in Munich typified the future for automaker BMW: bold, visionary, powerful.

Called the Vision M NEXT, the wedge-shaped plug-in hybrid concept car, wrapped in matte colors like “Thrilling Orange” and “Cast Silver,” was equally polarizing and enthralling.

All it needed was a voice.

Car companies have been grappling for years with how to acoustically assist drivers in quiet vehicles. Gone are the deep rumbles, distinctive growls and high pitch whines of an internal combustion engine that have always been a reliable soundtrack and alert system.

In BMW’s case, that assignment belonged to Hans Zimmer, the renowned Oscar-winning composer and record producer. BMW hired Zimmer to develop the drive sounds for the Vision M NEXT, which debuted last June to much fanfare. Zimmer and BMW acoustic sound engineer Renzo Vitale spent months at Zimmer’s recording studios in London and Santa Monica, tinkering with the “boom sound” that would envelop the driver when the car was in full electric mode.

“We had to create a whole new soundscape,” Zimmer told ABC News by phone. “We were not tied to the sound of a petrol engine anymore. I can’t remember how many versions were produced; it’s such a fluid process. You start with an idea and play around with it, see what reaction you get. The sounds do have to serve a purpose.”

Zimmer described the final result as “poetic,” adding that the sound had to match the driver’s adrenaline as the Vision M NEXT picked up speed.

He will also be in charge of developing e-sounds for future BMW EVs and plug-in hybrids, a project called BMW IconicSounds Electric. Composing a soundtrack for a silent vehicle was no different than composing a film score or writing a piece of music, Zimmer said.

“It’s just interesting for me to be able to work with a completely different new medium,” he said. “As this conversation started to develop around electric cars, it made me think as a musician, what could the world sound like?”

Renowned music composer Hans Zimmer in his Los Angeles recording studio.

Read the full story HERE.

The BMW Concept i4 is a Tesla-rivalling electric car with a 373-mile range and a driving sound scored by an Academy Award winning composer

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By RAY MASSEY FOR THISISMONEY.CO.UK

PUBLISHED: 04:02 EST, 3 March 2020 | UPDATED: 04:47 EST, 3 March 2020

“German car giant BMW has launched a new electric executive car that features a soundtrack by Academy Award winning movie composer Hans Zimmer.

The aim is to make the new battery-powered BMW i4 electric prototype – designed to take on Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – and the German manufacturer’s future cars sound cool.

That’s because while the prototype i4 has dramatic performance, the near silence of the electric drive can risk making the experience feel soulless.

Soundtrack over silence: This is the Concept i4 from BMW - an electric car that makes a sound when it moves that's been scored by an Academy Award winning film composer

Soundtrack over silence: This is the Concept i4 from BMW – an electric car that makes a sound when it moves that’s been scored by an Academy Award winning film composerPromo flaunts capability and design of new BMW Concept i4Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time2:01FullscreenNeed Text

To counter this BMW has sought put some aural heart and emotion into battery-powered motoring to help overcome the lack of sound drivers have grown used to from conventional petrol and diesel engines.

Rather than leave things to chance, BMW has hired the services of the top blockbuster film composer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.

He also won an Academy Award for his original score for The Lion King, and has worked on the forthcoming 007 movie No Time to Die and the new Tom Cruise film, Top Gun: Maverick.

Mr Zimmer worked with BMW sound engineer Renzo Vitale to create sounds that resonate with drivers.

He launched the new electric-drive soundtrack for the i4 at its world premiere today. 

The ‘ready-to-drive’ and ‘start-stop’ sound for all-electric BMW models and BMW plug-in hybrids will be introduced as a standard feature worldwide from July 2020.

With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early next year as BMW’s first all-electric model in the premium mid-size class, where it will go head to head with the Tesla Model 3. 

With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early in 2021

With its large exaggerated and almost cartoonish grille, the new i4 is set to go into production early in 2021 

The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horse-power promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph

The soundtrack made by the i4 Concept will be used across the entire electric and hybrid range of BMWs from July

The soundtrack made by the i4 Concept will be used across the entire electric and hybrid range of BMWs from July

The electric motor drivetrain developing 530 horsepower promises acceleration from rest to 62mph in just 4 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph with a range of 373 miles.

BMW said: ‘The virtually silent delivery of power creates an entirely new sensation of dynamism.

‘The silence of electric drive systems is often cited as a major benefit of electric mobility. As the choice of electrified models increases, however, it also means some drivers are missing out on the emotional appeal of sound.’

Mr Zimmer, who has a sound studio in Santa Monica, California, said: ‘We have an extraordinary opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a very special experience with the help of great sounds. 

BMW claims the Concept i4 has a range of 373 miles. It will need it to rival the 348 miles of the rangiest Model 3 on sale today

BMW claims the Concept i4 has a range of 373 miles. It will need it to rival the 348 miles of the rangiest Model 3 on sale today

Tesla's design has moved to a blanked front end where a car's grille would traditionally be, as there is no need for an air intake on an electric car - the opposite to BMW's exaggerated styling

Tesla’s design has moved to a blanked front end where a car’s grille would traditionally be, as there is no need for an air intake on an electric car – the opposite to BMW’s exaggerated styling

BMW has hired the services of Hans Zimmer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.

BMW has hired the services of Hans Zimmer who penned the music to movies including Gladiator, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai, The Da Vinci Code, 12 Years a Slave, and Dunkirk.

‘I am relishing the challenge of co-designing the composition for future electric BMWs.’

He said: ‘We hope the sound we created is classic yet surprising and has a feeling of lightness that is fitting for a BMW.’

The sound ‘repertoire’ of the BMW i4 covers the variety of driving ‘modes’ available to motorists , from the standard sound in cruising mode to ‘the more intense tones of ‘Sport’, he said.

New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach

New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach

The styling is very much in-keeping with the wider BMW range, somewhat replicating the shape of its popular saloon models like the 3 Series

The styling is very much in-keeping with the wider BMW range, somewhat replicating the shape of its popular saloon models like the 3 Series

The cabin is, as you'd expect from a concept, extremely futuristic. How much of this is kept for next year's production model is unknown

The cabin is, as you’d expect from a concept, extremely futuristic. How much of this is kept for next year’s production model is unknown

The ‘sport’ sound is a soft but rising crescendo that feels like (to my ears at least) the opening bars of Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ The cruising mode is similar, but softer and more ethereal.

Acoustic accompaniments to a door opening – like an electronic ‘plink’ – and when starting the car are also part of the car’s ‘soundscape’,

New legislation at requires electric cars to have an artificial sound to warn pedestrians of their impending approach. And that will provide another opportunity for composing a sound-scape.

Mr Zimmer has said in the past: ‘Electric cars don’t need to sound like a space-ship or a lawn-mower.

‘And silence is not the best way. On the outside you will kill people walking in the way. We have to help that a little bit.’

He explained: ‘In film music I see sound as a way of opening emotional doors to have an experience. I don’t want cars to feel more alive. I want humans to feel more alive.’

In different driving modes, the interior accents change

In different driving modes, the interior accents change. Cruising mode has the cabin shining blue but if you select sport it all turn red

BMW said: ‘The character of the i4 is not only a product of its design, but also of its visionary sound profile.

‘Hans Zimmer composed the sound of the i4 together with BMW sound designer Renzo Vitale.

‘It will imbue BMW’s electric models with extra emotional depth by connecting the driver with the vehicle’s character on another level through individual tones and sounds.’

Jens Thiemer, BMW’s senior vice president for customers and brand: ‘Sound has always played an important role in the emotionalisation of our vehicles. 

‘Now we are taking the joy of sheer driving pleasure to a new level and are particularly pleased to be working with Hans Zimmer to create the new sound world of electric mobility at BMW.'”

BMW Concept i4 with Sounds by Hans Zimmer through IconicSounds Electric – Forbes

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2020 Geneva Motor Show: BMW’s New Electric Car Concept I4

Forbes.com – Nargess Banks

BMW Concept i4 reveals digitally at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
BMW Concept i4 MARKUS WENDLER BMW

“This is the Concept i4, a sleek four-door all-electric coupé and the latest product to join the sustainable BMW i family. Revealed virtually as part of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show (cancelled in its physical format due to the coronavirus) the concept car previews the i4 which is expected to enter production next year as the marque’s first all-electric model in the premium midsize class. What’s more, the Concept i4 comes replete with its own electric engine soundtrack – composed by the celebrated musician Hans Zimmer to express the possibilities of finding a unique electric drive note that speaks of the progressive age of clean transport.

BMW Concept i4 reveals digitally at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
The rear of Concept i4 features slim and elongated lights MARKUS WENDLER BMW

The Concept i4 will offer a 373-mile electric battery range, provide an output of up to 530-horsepower, accelerate to 62 mph in around 4 seconds and perform to a top speed in excess of 124 mph. While, the virtually silent delivery of power, BMW promises, will create an entirely new driving sensation for this coupé.Today In: Lifestyle

This latest show car is an evolution of the 2017 i Vision Dynamics design study. The sleek proportions are classic coupé – a longer wheelbase, fastback roofline and short overhangs. And much like the i Vision, here the exterior design has been kept simple with its smooth lines and clear surfaces – “as a deliberate counterpoint to the dynamic flair of the driving experience” says BMW.

BMW Concept i4 reveals digitally at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
Sketches for the BMW Concept i4 BMW

Aerodynamic measures help maximize the car’s electric range including the covered kidney grille and clear aero lips that help the smooth flow of air. Another distinctive feature are the wheel rims, designed exclusively for the Concept i4 to combine aerodynamic and lightweight design. The face offers a subtle new electric look too with its covered kidney grille which, in the absence of a combustion engine and required cooling, now serves primarily as an “intelligence panel” housing the various sensors.

BMW Concept i4 reveals digitally at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
Inside, the Concept i4 explores a new driver-focused environment through the curved display MARKUS WENDLER BMW

Elsewhere, the headlights maintain the marque’s classical four-eyed design, but with a more contemporary interpretation featuring a couple of freestanding LED elements on either side to integrate the essential light functions. Clean surfaces with only a few crisp lines around the grille help inform the contemporary front-end graphic. Referencing the design of the i Vision, where exhaust tailpipes would once have been found, diffuser elements in BMW i Blue represent the electric drive system. Finally, the Concept i4 previews a new two-dimensional and transparent logo for the marque.

Inside, the Concept i4 cabin maintains BMW’s usual driver-focused environment but through a new curved display design whereby the surfaces of the information and control displays merge into a single unit and are inclined towards the driver. The idea is for the screen grouping to optimize presentation of information and makes the display’s touch operation more intuitive. Head of design Domagoj Dukec says, “with the curved display, we have redefined our signature driver focus in an extremely elegant way. At the same time, the Concept i4 transports a feeling of sustainable driving pleasure.”

BMW Concept i4 reveals digitally at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show
Exploring interior design for the upcoming BMW i4 MARKUS WENDLER BMW

BMW i was formed almost a decade ago as a sustainable sub-brand dedicated to finding a distinct product portfolio and a design language for the marque in the age of electrification. I drove the very first i3 in and around London in 2013; then the dramatic i8 the year after in the more dramatic Scottish Highlands setting. They both delivered what they promised in equal measures. The i3 is an incredibly gifted urban runaround, while the i8 offers pure open road driving pleasure. These two very distinct electric cars certainly don’t diminish the convenience or the fun of driving – instead they introduce an extra dose of excitement to personal transport. The i cars are intelligently designed and engineered products. They are fresh and exciting and point the way to a progressive future.

Driving the BMW future with Concept i4 electric car
Driving the BMW future with Concept i4 electric car BMW

Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group design, says the Concept i4 car brings electrification to the core of his brand. “The design is dynamic, clean and elegant. In short: a perfect BMW that happens to be zero emission,” he says.

“BMW is rooted in performance and it is about the thrill and the emotion of driving” van Hooydonk told me a few months ago. “On the one hand, it is about speed, yet the thrill is also about the vehicle’s direct response to your input. Then there is the technology that works well and the design which speaks on an emotional level. So, BMW is a combination of something that is highly emotional but delivers on a rational level. This can be motorized in any possible way.””

The BMW Group at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 in Las Vegas

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At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 – taking place in Las Vegas on 7 – 10 January 2020 – the BMW Group will be presenting its visionary approaches to creating the mobility experience of the future. The premium carmaker’s presence at CES 2020 can be summed up by the hashtag #ChangeYourPerception. At its heart is the company’s firm conviction that a change in perspective is essential in order to not only understand the requirements of future mobility but also address them. The BMW Group stand at this year’s CES showcases this new angle of thought, while close-up experiences and practical demonstrations anchor it in reality for the show’s visitors from all over the world.

One of the highlights of CES 2020 is the BMW i Interaction EASE at the BMW Group stand, which offers a glimpse into a future where autonomous driving has become commonplace. The concept car has deliberately been given an abstract exterior appearance in order to focus attention purely on the interior. Not only is the cabin meant to give passengers the feeling of having already arrived at their destination while still en route, it also underscores the potential of intuitive, almost human-like interaction between passenger and vehicle.

The headline feature here is the innovative gaze detection system in the BMW i Interaction EASE. The vehicle’s artificial intelligence detects when a passenger fixes their gaze on an object outside the car and offers them relevant information on it or other ways to interact with it. A second highlight of the CES reveals how close the BMW Group is to turning such visions of the future into reality. Three BMW X7 models have been fitted with the luxurious ZeroG Lounger, which will be ready for series production vehicles in just a few years in a similar form.

The ZeroG Lounger presents a brand new way of relaxing while out on the road. The occupant can tilt the seat back by up to 60 degrees while still being able to enjoy the usual creature comforts and without any compromises in terms of safety or protection in an accident.

The third highlight on display at the show is the BMW i3 Urban Suite, which is designed to offer a mobility experience tailored precisely to the passenger’s needs. To this end, series production BMW i3 cars underwent a complete transformation – with only the driver’s seat and the dashboard left untouched – to recreate the ambience of a boutique hotel, while paying particular attention to sustainability. 20 examples of the BMW i3 Urban Suite, which can be summoned using an app, are in action on the streets of Las Vegas. The interior of the car welcomes passengers with a laid-back ambience. This is partly down to the lounge chairs, which offer generous legroom and feature a special Sound Zone allowing passengers to shut out all noise from the outside world.

This trio of standout exhibits re-affirms the BMW Group’s commitment to employing technologies in a way that delivers tangible benefits for customers. 5G technology also features very prominently in the carmaker’s line-up for this year’s CES. The BMW iNEXT due to be launched in 2021 will come with 5G capability, which will likely make the BMW Group the world’s first premium carmaker to offer the new mobile standard in a production model. BMW’s outdoor area at the event will host a live demonstration – starring a BMW i3 and a smartphone – that shows how 5G can take road safety to the next level.

Past editions of the Consumer Electronics Show have seen the BMW Group unveiling a number of key technologies (and their potential applications), which have subsequently been readied for series production and incorporated into the company’s product portfolio. For instance, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant presented in Las Vegas last year made its debut in a BMW model barely six months later.

Similarly, just a few months after being revealed to the public at CES 2016, the BMW Connected digital mobility assistant was featured in the BMW model range and on customers’ mobile devices. And BMW’s revolutionary Remote 3D View tech likewise celebrated its premiere in Las Vegas shortly before market launch.

The BMW i Interaction EASE.

Autonomous mobility is once again a key theme at this year’s edition of the CES. The BMW Group partnered Designworks together with their Research and Development department to create the BMW i Interaction EASE; which addresses the topic from a totally fresh perspective, while highlighting the premium carmaker’s culture of innovation. The BMW stand will offer a glimpse into a future where autonomous travel has long since become part of everyday life. The BMW i Interaction EASE has deliberately been given an sheer, abstract appearance on the exterior, contrasted with a rich, immersive interior to create a luxurious mobility experience. The high-quality materials, the cabin’s tailored geometry, and the cutting-edge technology are geared squarely to the passenger and their requirements. Particular emphasis has been placed on natural interaction with an intelligent autonomous vehicle making the most engaging use of time spent travelling.

“The BMW i Interaction EASE demonstrates what mobility might feel like in the future once autonomous driving becomes commonplace: luxurious, human, and intuitive” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Passengers start their journey with the feeling of having already arrived.” 

Consequently, interaction with the vehicle is made as simple, as intuitive, and above all, as human as possible. To put this theory into practice, the BMW i Interaction EASE offers an intelligent combination of different operating modes. This elevates forms of interaction already familiar from the current BMW model range – i.e. using touch control, gesture control and natural speech to converse with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

In addition, the BMW i Interaction EASE treads entirely new ground; with its artificial intelligence (AI) capable of following and interpreting the driver’s gaze. This fusion of ultra-advanced technologies with breathtaking design creates an emotional bond between person and machine.

Natural interaction enters the next stage of development.

The BMW Group is therefore taking the interaction between human and machine to the next level with the BMW i Interaction EASE; using a genuinely multimodal concept to successfully create an all-new interactive experience designed to be as simple and natural as possible and seem almost human in nature. Alongside verbal engagement with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant and a new type of gesture control, the gaze detection system has taken a leading role in enabling new ways of responding to the passenger’s needs. Rather than users needing to first learn specific commands in different modes, the vehicle’s AI processes the acoustic and visual information received from a variety of sensors and interprets it according to the driving situation, time, location, and vehicle signals.

The AI uses gaze sensing for browsing the space around the user and vehicle, while pointing can be used to register a selection for more information.  This form of interaction draws on the way people talk to one another; i.e. each person’s gaze identifies who or what is the subject of the conversation or makes the meaning of what is being said clear. A spoken or gesture command can then be given to initiate interaction with the target object. In this way, it is possible to obtain information on the context within the passengers’ frame of view as their gaze falls on e.g. a restaurant or cinema.

The Panorama Head-Up Display spanning the entire width of the front-end windscreen has a key role to play in this regard. By imposing a second, digital layer of information over the real-world view, it acts as­ an immersive augmented-reality user interface. It can show additional information on the windscreen that is tailored to the situation at hand and the vehicle’s surroundings. Thanks to 5G connectivity the vehicle knows exactly where it is and can offer the user information on the surrounding buildings, businesses and other objects as and when required.

First features to premiere in the BMW iNEXT.

BMW Natural Interaction paves the way to the next level of control inside the vehicle and beyond. The first features of the BMW i Interaction EASE will become reality in the market in the BMW iNEXT.

An interior headlined by flawless intuition.

The interior user experience for BMW i Interaction EASE starts on the way to the vehicle. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant recognises passengers as they approach, greeting them with a welcome illumination and directing them to the two seats inside with the use of dynamic lighting. The leather-free interior becomes a premium living space, reinforcing the feeling of having already arrived at a destination. Not only do the soft, welcoming seats with three-dimensional knitted surface ensure a high standard of comfort, they also come to life on contact thanks to embedded smart materials. The cabin is bordered at the sides by glass surfaces whose smart-glass functionality allows them to either be transparent or conceal the seating area from the outside world and so ensure the passengers’ privacy.

The focal point of the BMW i Interaction EASE interior is the large Panorama Head-Up Display positioned directly in front of the seating area. There is a choice of three experience modes – Explore, Entertain and Ease – which alter the interior, integrate information on the vehicle’s surroundings and provide in-car entertainment, privacy, or relaxation respectively.

In Explore mode, the focus shifts to the area around the vehicle. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant uses AR technology to superimpose information of interest to the passengers on the display so it appears both in their line-of-sight and in the correct position for their view of the real world.

Additional information or options for interaction with both the vehicle’s immediate and more distant surroundings can be accessed as the user desires. Focussing their gaze on the superimposed information brings up further details on the display, and a confirmatory gesture takes the user to the next interaction level.

Entertain mode brings the in-car experience to the fore. The surfaces at the sides are darkened to obscure the world beyond and the Panorama Head-Up Display can be used for watching movies, for example. The theatre-like ambient lighting extends light and colour throughout the interior enriching the content shown on the display; inviting passengers to immerse themselves fully in the entertainment experience.

When Ease mode is activated, the vehicle transforms into a place of calm and relaxation. Touching the intelligent material moves the seat into the “zero-gravity” position, in which the occupant feels as if they are almost floating. The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant darkens the Panorama Head-Up Display and makes the surfaces at the sides opaque. At the same time, ambient lighting bathes the interior in a soothing glow, while a harmonious composition of pleasant sounds spreads through the cabin.

With the sound of the BMW Vision M NEXT, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale have outlined the sound of the future for the BOOST moment. For the BMW i Interaction EASE, the challenge was to use sound to turn the EASE moment into an authentic and emotional experience. “The sound subtly accompanies the interaction between passenger and vehicle and supports the unique BMW experience” says Renzo Vitale. The sound of the BMW i Interaction Ease thus also demonstrates the breadth of the partnership with Hans Zimmer, who, as composer and curator, is driving the development of BMW IconicSoundsElectric.

The partnership of Hans Zimmer and BMW began in 2017 with the inaugural #RoadtoCoachella campaign, and has continued to blossom into a long term relationship as Zimmer began to compose sounds for the mobility group. Mirrored Media is proud to be a

Read the full press release HERE.

Partnership for the sound of the future: Hans Zimmer is now official composer and curator for BMW IconicSounds Electric

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20.11.2019 Press Release

Partnership for upcoming years announced in Santa Monica

First jointly developed sound to enter series vehicles in 2020

Santa Monica/Munich. In June 2019 at the #NEXT Gen in Munich, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale presented their jointly developed e-sound for the BMW Vision M NEXT. In Santa Monica Hans Zimmer has now officially announced his partnership with the BMW Group to further develop BMW IconicSounds Electric. Hans Zimmer: “We have the unique opportunity to turn electric driving in a BMW into a magnificent experience with outstanding sonority. I am really looking forward to the challenge of shaping the sound for future electric BMW’s. Developing the sounds for the BMW Vision M NEXT together with Renzo Vitale was already an inspiring, new experience for me.”

Jointly developed sound to enter series vehicles already in 2020

Prior to the Los Angeles Auto Show, Hans Zimmer and BMW Sound Designer Renzo Vitale gave exclusive insights into their previous collaboration at Hans Zimmer’s studio in Santa Monica. In this exact studio, where Hans Zimmer usually composes his famous scores for Hollywood movies, the two jointly developed the e-sound of the BMW Vision M NEXT. Furthermore Zimmer and Vitale revealed their most recent co-creation: The sound signaling readiness for driving in purely electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles of the BMW brand. The sound will enter series vehicles already in 2020. Renzo Vitale: “Sound Design gives us the opportunity to evoke positive emotions in our vehicles. This new start-sound triggers joyful anticipation of the electric drive, when the customer enters his vehicle and presses the Start/Stop button.”

BMW IconicSounds Electric

The silence of driving electrically is often cited as a major advantage of electric mobility. However, as the range of electrified models increases, a gap in the emotionality of the driving experience arises for the driver. Under the brand name “BMW IconicSounds Electric” a visionary sound offer will be created for future electrified vehicles from BMW. Stefan Ponikva, Vice President BMW Brand Experience: “Over the years, the sound of our vehicles has enthused and accompanied millions of people. We are very excited about the exceptional chance of creating the sounds for BMW’s electric mobility together with Hans Zimmer. Thereby we can charge future emotions of our customers worldwide anew and redefine sheer driving pleasure.”

As composer and curator of BMW IconicSounds Electric Hans Zimmer will contribute his expertise to various projects for sound creation for electrified BMW vehicles worldwide. The variety of projects may include sounds for vision vehicles and concepts, series vehicles, composition of sound signs, but also sound creation for communicative occasions focusing on the acoustic-emotional character of electric mobility.

BMW Group has been developing sound for electric mobility for around ten years now

In 2009, with the introduction of the MINI E test fleet, acoustic engineers from the BMW Group were already working on artificially generated sound, which was intended to contribute to the better perceptibility of vehicles with barely audible drivetrains. Since the launch of the BMW i3, customers have therefore been able to choose acoustic pedestrian protection as optional equipment.

The sound of the acoustic pedestrian protection has since been further developed in line with new legislative requirements and is now gradually being rolled out as standard in all plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles from BMW (requirements for acoustic pedestrian protection as well as operating times vary worldwide). The aim in the development was to fulfil the important warning function without disturbing pedestrians. At the same time, the customer should continue to enjoy a high level of acoustic comfort in the vehicle.

Forbes: Film Composer Hans Zimmer Gives BMW Electric Cars A Noteworthy Voice

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Inside the production studio where Oscar winner Hans Zimmer composes music
Hans Zimmer’s music studio in Santa Monica, CA
PHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM

David Bloom, Senior Contributor Forbes

Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer (The Lion King), has a new side gig, curating the sounds of otherwise virtually silent electric vehicles made by his hometown automaker, BMW.

On the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show’s opening (and of the announcement of Zimmer’s latest Grammy nomination, his 18th), BMW hauled a busload of mostly German journalists to Zimmer’s sprawling music-production compound tucked amid low-rise office buildings a mile east of downtown Santa Monica. There, Zimmer and BMW executives unveiled the initial results of a previously announced collaboration designed to give voice to cars that make virtually no sound.

Hans Zimmer with background TV image of BMW car
Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer in his studio complex PHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM

“It’s the electric engine which is not delivering any sound at all,” said Jens Thiemer, Head of BMW Brand Management. “This is more and more going to be the way in the next decades. We had to think about what holistic sound experiences can we provide our drivers?”

As part of that future, Zimmer will have an ongoing role creating audio for BMW electric vehicles, starting with a sound that signals the start and stop of the cars. It will be part of next year’s BMW electric fleet.Today In: Business

On start, the sound swells from a single note into a full chord. And when the car is turned off, the sound is reversed, going from a chord to a single note.

Zimmer– who still has an apartment in Munich with a view of the BMW headquarters – said his work on the project was initially informed by the feeling of safety and security he had when he could pick out the sound of his mother’s returning car among the city’s street noise.

He also kept thinking what the world sounded like before the internal-combustion engine took over seemingly everything, but especially our auditory landscape.

“What did the world sound like before the internal-combustion engine,” Zimmer said. “Silence is an expensive commodity now. But we could make (the driving experience) more beautiful. There’s no limit to the sounds we could make” without engine sounds overwhelming everything.

The project taps into the same spirit of customization that led people to create their own cellphone ring-tones. As well, there’s a billion-dollar aftermarket for products that aficionados use to trick out even modest vehicles with internal and external running lights, high-end sound systems, custom paint jobs, and much else.

More recently, BMW competitor Daimler-Benz rolled out an entry-level sedan, the A 220, designed to appeal to a new market segment of tech-savvy younger buyers. Among the options is the ability to customize interior running lights with numerous colors or color combinations. It’s a small thing, but ridiculously pleasing for those who like to make a car more truly an expression of their personality.

And so, no doubt, will be the case for audio in the near-perfect listening conditions possible in a well-made electric vehicle. Though Zimmer and Renzo Vitale, who heads BMW’s music project, were circumspect about what additional sound creation the composer might do in his ongoing role, Zimmer several times mentioned that he already had numerous ideas for more work.

Composer Hans Zimmer and BMW executive Renzo Vitale
Hans Zimmer (l.) and BMW composer Renzo Vitale announcing Zimmer’s new role with the car companyPHOTO BY DAVID BLOOM

“The start-stop sound is a good first thing to be working on,” Vitale said. ‘Maybe it shows us a new way. More is to be revealed.”

Zimmer originally was commissioned to create a distinctive driving sound for a concept car, the Vision M Next, that BMW unveiled earlier this year.

That audio was built around what’s known in music circles as a Shepard tone, an audio effect that enlists a chord of tones separated by an octave each that shift in pitch and volume, said Vitale. It was designed to provide something of the visceral auditory thrill that a sports car’s revving engine can deliver to enthusiast drivers.

The Shepard tone tricks the ear into believing the sound is perpetually swelling in volume as different tones rise and fall within the overall chord. Zimmer said he used the effect in his Oscar-nominated soundtrack for Christopher Nolan’s Inception among other work.

The sounds also are built around unexpected inspirations, taken from notable visual artists.

For instance, Vitale said the road sound for the concept car – designed to unfurl through four “rooms” of emotional response as a driver accelerated from 0 to 200 kilometers per hour (about 122 mph) – connects to the work of prominent Southern California artist James Turrell, a former MacArthur Fellow noted for his work with the Light and Space movement and Arizona’s Roden Crater naked-eye observatory.

In similar fashion, the start-stop sound was fueled by a sculptural piece from Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson that unfurls and furls through a cycle, Zimmer said.

More generally, Zimmer took a filmic, narrative approach, perhaps unsurprising given his body of work creating music for dozens of films, TV shows and video games, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Dunkirk, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight trilogy. He racked up another Grammy nomination today, for best score soundtrack for visual media, for this year’s live-action version of The Lion King.

“Every story is a journey,” Zimmer said. ‘The character starts somewhere and ends somewhere else. I thought how great it would be if the car would greet you. The on-off sound could be a delicious Beatles chord that makes you smile.”

It’s not the first time Zimmer has worked with BMW on projects. Three years ago, he was the first musician to work with BMW on a project tied to Coachella, the massive music festival held every spring in the desert three hours’ drive east of Los Angeles.

That first Road to Coachella project featured behind-the-scenes video of Zimmer preparing for his live performance, organizing the 100-person backing orchestra he brought along. The automaker since has partnered with Portugal. The Man and this year with Khalid, who today was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy.

And BMW has been doing entertainment-connected projects for many years, beginning with the commissioning of Ridley Scott and other notable directors two decades ago to create short films featuring the vehicles.Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Read the entire article HERE at Forbes.com

The International Davey Awards Announces Winners

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Mirrored Media is honored to have been awarded a gold Davey Award in the category of Marketing Effectiveness for the 2019 #RoadtoCoachella campaign with BMW i and artist partner, Khalid.

Winners of the 15th Annual Davey Awards have been announced by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. With nearly 3,000 entries from across the U.S. and from around the world, the Davey Awards honors the finest creative work from the best small shops, firms, and companies worldwide. Please visit www.daveyawards.com to view the full winners list.

The Davey Awards is judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 700+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Current membership represents a “Who’s Who” of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms including: Code and Theory, Condé Nast, Disney, GE, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Microsoft, Tinder, MTV, Push., Publicis, Sesame Workshops, The Marketing Store, Your Majesty, Yahoo!, and many others. You can visit www.aiva.org for more information on the Academy and a full list of members.

About the Davey Awards:

The Davey Awards is an international award focused exclusively on honoring outstanding creative work from the best small shops from across the world. The 15th Annual Davey Awards received nearly 3,000 entries from ad agencies, digital agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms and public relations firms. David defeated the mighty Goliath with a big idea and a little rock. That is the sort of thing small agencies do every day. The Davey Awards honors the achievements of the “Creative David’s” where strength comes from ideas, intelligence and out -of-the-box thinking, not a “Giant’s” bankroll. Great work is about fresh ideas and exceptional execution, not the biggest budgets. The Davey levels the playing field so entrants compete with only their peers and can win the recognition they deserve.