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
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