BMW Group introduces MINI and Rolls Royce centenary concepts; individual mobility based on megatrends and projections
To mark its centenary year in 2016, the BMW Group is looking further ahead than usual with a series of Vision Vehicles designed to anticipate and respond to future mobility needs. At its Munich Centenary Event on 7 March, the automaker introduced the BMW VISION NEXT 100. (Earlier post.)
BMW now has introduced two more Vision concepts: the MINI VISION NEXT 100 and the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A fourth Vision Vehicle, by BMW Motorrad, will make its premiere on 16 October in Los Angeles, completing the BMW Group’s brand quartet of far-forward looking concepts.
|Left to right: MINI VISION NEXT 100, BMW VISION NEXT 100, Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. Click to enlarge.|
The Vision vehicles embody, from the perspective of the different brands, the Group’s vision of personal mobility two or three decades from now. The BMW Group has formulated six central hypotheses for individual mobility in the coming decades, based on key megatrends and future projections:
Mobility is becoming versatile. New forms of mobility will open up countless possibilities for people to get where they want to go. The BMW Group aims to play a part in shaping these future forms of mobility.
Connectivity is becoming second nature. In the future, everything will be connected.
Mobility is becoming tailor-made. Mobility will be increasingly flexible and tailored to individual needs. In the future, z mobility will automatically ensure that people are able to use the best means of transport and take their preferred route to their destination. The BMW Group will offer carefully coordinated products and services to achieve this.
Technology is becoming human. Technologies are getting smarter. The BMW Group believes that innovations are only beneficial to humans if they are simple and user-friendly. In its vision, technologies must be able to learn from and adapt to people, so that technology seems less technical and more human and familiar.
Energy is becoming emission-free. In the future, energy will increasingly come from renewable sources. The BMW Group has a clear vision of environmentally-compatible vehicles built using renewable energies and recycled without generating emissions. It is working towards becoming a wholly sustainable company.
Responsibility is becoming diverse. In the future, it will become even more important for global companies such as the BMW Group to take responsibility for the environment, but also for the people directly or indirectly in its sphere of activity. One aspect—concerning both the company’s international workforce of more than 100 different nationalities and people connected with its various locations—is to promote intercultural exchange and improve lives. The BMW Group already supports more than 200 environmental and social projects in over 42 countries engaging in various projects involving its associates and local communities to maximize its impact in the future.
These six focus areas comprise the BMW Group’s view of the future. They also form the basis and inspiration for the design of the Vision Vehicles.
BMW VISION NEXT 100 provides a glimpse of what “Sheer Driving Pleasure” could look like in the future.
MINI VISION NEXT 100 offers a completely individualized, permanently available form of urban mobility.
Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 epitomizes bespoke automotive luxury.
MINI VISION NEXT 100: “Every MINI is my MINI”
The MINI VISION NEXT 100 is MINI’s answer to several key questions on urban mobility over the years ahead. The core philosophy behind the MINI VISION NEXT 100 is the thoughtful use of the planet’s resources in providing personal mobility. The motto “Every MINI is my MINI” describes a particular take on car-sharing.
In the future, fans of the brand will be able to call on a MINI tailored to their personal requirements where ever they are, day or night. The MINI of the future will be available 24/7, able to pick its driver up from his or her desired location in a fully automated way and will adapt itself to the driver’s individual tastes, interests and preferences. At the heart of this concept is fully connected digital intelligence.“Digitally mine” – where every MINI becomes my MINI. The design team’s challenge was how to make a MINI be widely and instantly adaptable – making the driver feel it is their car, tailored precisely to their own taste—available whenever and wherever needed?
The MINI VISION NEXT 100 is wrapped in a discreet, silver skin. The MINI designers refer to it as a “blank canvas”. How that canvas is used varies according to the individual users, their moods and the situations they encounter. Even the colour of the roof and the lighting mood in the interior respond in kind. The MINI uses projections adapted to the driver in terms of colour, graphics and content to create a personalized experience and customised package of on-board information.
The Cooperizer:a connection between the driver and digital intelligence. The Cooperizer is the name the MINI VISION NEXT 100 gives to the centrally-positioned circular instrument that has become such a signature feature of MINI cockpits. In the MINI VISION NEXT 100 it illuminates like a kaleidoscope.
The colors and patterns it generates symbolize the car’s multi-faceted digital intelligence, which allows it to select a personalized setting for each driver, encompassing entertainment, communications and autonomous-driving options.
On the move, the driver can influence the Cooperizer’s decision-making, as the rotary controls allow adjustments to the interior ambience and driving mode. The car can be adapted to give a perfectly personalized driving experience, whether driven conventionally or autonomously.
Pressing the “Inspire Me” button brings another special Cooperizer trick into play. Here, the MINI checks downloaded user data to select information of interest to the driver and provide them with potential sources of inspiration. For example, the MINI VISION NEXT 100 might suggest the MINI set-up configured for an artist the driver admires and whose exhibition they have recently visited. Or it could recommend a challenging, twisting route to the outskirts of town and switch to John Cooper Works performance mode.
The urban go-kart. In the future, driving in a MINI must still be fun, to the extent that drivers will prefer to drive themselves—as often as possible. The mechanical experience of speed and the feeling of nipping swiftly through twists and turns are part of what makes a MINI a MINI. In a future world of self-driving cars, this side of motoring may have an even more significant, even more special role. Various aspects of the MINI VISION NEXT 100 will take the go-kart feeling to another new level.
Cleared of many controls and screens, the interior has a pure, uncluttered look. And the glass front end opens up a dynamic view of the road. Here, augmented reality displays show the route or ideal driving line, heightening the driving sensation.
In addition to these dynamic elements, dreaming up clever details and creating maximum interior space within the smallest possible footprint are other MINI essentials. The efficiently-packaged, zero-emission drive system and the reduced need for crash zones in the future enable a compactness of body not so far removed from the first MINI back in 1959.
The generous feeling of cabin space is enhanced by a full-width bench seat and pedals that slide with the steering wheel to adjust their position. The steering wheel is always there, but the option remains, to ask the car to drive itself; perhaps there are things you’d rather do during a journey when the driving environment is tedious.
Autonomous driving plays an important role in the MINI VISION NEXT 100, allowing it to travel occupant-free to a charging station, cleaning service, parking space or the next user. To switch from driving themselves to autonomous driving, the driver simply moves the steering wheel into the central area between themselves and the front passenger. In the process, those on board enjoy greater freedom of movement and getting in and out of the car in busy city centres is that much easier.
The single-section bench seat and a full-width footwell, uninterrupted by a centre console, also help this, allowing passengers to gain rapid access from both sides of the car without having to decide in advance where they would prefer to sit. When dynamic driving is the order of the day, active elements within the seat provide lateral support for the driver and front passenger. Park the car in a tight spot, and the doors automatically open as wide as possible within the restricted confines.
Innovative use of sustainable materials. Making responsible use of resources is key in the selection of materials for the MINI VISION NEXT 100. These materials should retain their high level of perceived quality over many years, age stylishly and offer a special tactile experience. As digitization increases, analogue qualities and experiences will become more important. With the more intensive use of a shared car, interiors will need to be much more hard wearing.
In addition to the modern materials made from recycled plastic and aluminium in the floor area, roof lining and side panel trim, for example, the MINI interior designers used materials less commonly found in car cabins, such as brass, basalt and cellulose. The wraparound carrier and information strip, with its mount for the sliding steering wheel, and the Cooperizer with its thin brass structure are good examples here.
The designers made the storage net behind the steering wheel from lightweight basalt, while the lower section of the seat is trimmed in a recycled cellulose material similar to paper. This novel use of materials included deliberately allowing a patina to develop through use and ensuring they retain along-lasting and sophisticated appearance.
When it comes to the natural look and feel of surfaces, the designers have embraced the irregularities inherent in the chosen materials and processing methods. That also applies to the seat covers in knitted Alcantara—a robust, somewhat iridescent material. The designers have steered clear of traditional interior materials like wood and leather altogether.
Another example of analogue design in the MINI Vision Vehicle can be found in the wheels, whose rotation generates an “Ombro Cinema” effect: This involves the outer surface of the wheel not moving and only a disc behind it turning with the tyre. The even movement of a shimmering graphic—again brass-colored—can be observed through openings in the outside of the wheel. The idea is for each wheel to look like a piece of a mechanical jewelry.
Experience sharing. Sharing cars, homes and goods is ever-more common, as digitalization, connectivity and artificial intelligence make processes simpler and more automated. The MINI VISION NEXT 100 can bring together a community of likeminded people, with a shared MINI lifestyle in common. Everybody benefits from everybody. And mobility opens up inspirational experiences yet stands by its sustainable approach and prudent use of resources.
For example, a MINI user in the future is interested in a certain type of art and a friend gets hold of some last-minute tickets to a preview for an exhibition they might like. The Vision Vehicle identifies what’s involved, and coordinates and organises the whole excursion. The drive itself becomes part of a perfectly arranged service. MINI calls this vision of the future experience sharing.
Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100
The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 was designed as the ultimate expression of the future of super-luxury mobility. The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is the first purely visionary vehicle in the 112-year history of the marque.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars already realizes the most diverse customer wishes and offers virtually unlimited scope for personalizing its vehicles. Over the years and decades ahead, however, the opportunities will become even more extensive, and customers will be able to commission their personal Rolls-Royce into a genuine one-off piece. In terms of technology, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is based on an advanced lightweight platform equipped with a high-performance electric drive. From the wheelbase to the design of the body, its various specifications and equipment can be tailored specifically to suit the needs of the individual customer.
The Rolls-Royce design team expects that further progress in composite materials and technologies will have a decisive influence on how production can be customized in the future. Advances will also unlock new creative possibilities for the brand to meet the wishes of its customers and achieve its goal of producing the bespoke automotive equivalent of haute couture.
The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is one of a limitless number of possible personal visions of a Rolls-Royce of the future. In an evolution of the Rolls-Royce experience of today, the customer’s taste will shape exactly how his or her Rolls-Royce will look and how it will be configured.
In the spirit of the great coachbuilt cars of the past, Rolls-Royce will create the chassis of the future, hand-built from the most advanced materials and powered by a zero-emissions powertrain. Innovative manufacturing technologies will enable customers to involve themselves in the style and proportion of their personal Rolls-Royce vision. They will be able to commission their very own cars shaped by Rolls-Royce designers to their personal tastes.
In creating the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the designers also sought to keep the presence of technologies as subdued as possible while at the same time ensuring full connectivity. The vehicle is controlled by a virtual intelligence which fulfills the passenger’s every need.
This virtual assistant is embodied in a digital representation of the Spirit of Ecstasy, which appears on the full-width transparent OLED display. It is named after Eleanor Thornton, the model who inspired sculptor Charles Robert Sykes’ iconic Rolls-Royce bonnet ornament. The more time Eleanor spends on the road with a passenger, the more she learns about their interests and needs—their favorite restaurants, tastes in art and favorite routes, for instance—and about the preferences and desires of all the other vehicle occupants as well, of course. Using speech interaction, the passengers can call upon her services to tailor their journey as desired.