BMW Group debuted a motorcycle concept so artificially intelligent that it eliminates the need for the rider to wear protective gear, including a helmet.
According to BMW, it’s a bike that has self-balancing systems to keep it upright both when standing and in motion. Several systems—one BMW calls a “Digital Companion,” which offers riding advice and adjustment ideas to optimize the experience, and one called “The Visor,” which is a pair of glasses that span the entire field of vision and are controlled by eye movements—correlate to return active feedback about road conditions to the rider while adjusting the ride of the bike continuously depending on the rider’s driving style.
“The bike has the full range of connected data from its surroundings and a set of intelligent systems working in the background, so it knows exactly what lies ahead,” said Holger Hampf, BMW’s head of user experience.
It also purports to use a novel matte black “flexframe” that’s nubile enough to allow the bike to turn without the joints found on today’s motorcycles. The idea is that when a rider turns the handlebar, it adjusts the entire frame to change the direction of the bike; at low speeds only a slight input is required, while at high speeds it needs strong input to change course. This should increase the safety factor of riding a bike so a small twitch at 100 mph isn’t going to shoot you in an unexpected new direction.
The BMW Group’s future vision
The task of exploring how we will live and move around in the years and decades ahead is as challenging as it is interesting: how will society, the economy, living conditions and consequently our mobility change? What opportunities will new technologies open up for us? And what will digitalisation and connectivity mean for our future automotive needs?
These are the questions the BMW Group has set out to answer with its four Vision Vehicles. Each made by a different Group brand, they represent a distinct interpretation of future mobility and embody a specific set of brand values. All of them explore a number of future themes, autonomous and emission-free driving, connectivity and mobility services. Premium solutions by the BMW Group will be completely effortless, constantly available, tailored to the user’s individual needs and sustainable.
The BMW VISION NEXT 100: “The Ultimate Driver”
The BMW Vision Vehicle has typical BMW driving pleasure at its core. In the years and decades ahead, BMW drivers will want to continue driving themselves most of the time, and constant connectivity, digital intelligence and cutting-edge technologies will assist. But these cutting-edge technologies are set to do even more: they will turn BMW drivers into the Ultimate Driver. At the same time, however, drivers will be able to hand over active control of the vehicle if they wish, leaving the BMW VISION NEXT 100 to take over while they sit back and turn their attention to other things.
The MINI VISION NEXT 100: “Every MINI is my MINI”
The key idea behind the MINI VISION NEXT 100 is responsible use of resources for personal mobility. The motto “Every MINI is my MINI” is about innovative car- sharing, with MINI fans of the future able to access and tailor any MINI to their own personal preferences, anywhere and at any time. The MINI will be available to everybody at all times, picking drivers up autonomously from wherever they like and adjusting its appearance, driving characteristics and connectivity to suit the user’s personal lifestyle. New, customised mobility with the MINI VISION NEXT 100 builds on connected digital intelligence.
The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100: “The Grand Sanctuary”
Fully autonomous, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 takes luxury to a new dimension. The interior will be a private retreat, a “Grand Sanctuary” in which a virtual assistant not only drives the vehicle but also fulfils the occupants’ every wish throughout the journey. The stunning exterior, with an elegant clamshell canopy and coach door, allows passengers simply to stand up and step out of the vehicle, ensuring they are the picture of refinement and taste wherever they arrive. The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 represents just one possible option for a unique, personal, customised Rolls-Royce. Picking up on its coachbuilding heritage, the marque uses innovative production methods and state-of-the-art materials to develop and handcraft an individual chassis to the customer’s own specifications. The vehicle will be powered by a zero-emission drivetrain.
The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100: “The Great Escape”
The key idea behind this BMW Motorrad Vision Vehicle is to create a pure, unbounded ride experience. In the future, the special sensation of freedom will be made possible by even greater connectivity between rider, bike and the outside world. The assistance systems in the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 will not only anticipate and advise when action is needed but also intervene, when required, to keep riders safe. Protective clothing such as helmets and padded suits will no longer be needed. Instead, riders will simply be able to enjoy the sensation of absolute freedom. A key assistance system in this Vision Vehicle is the Self-Balancing mechanism, which keeps the motorcycle balanced both while in motion and while stationary, and prevents it from tipping over. This technology consequently allows all riders of any level of skill or expertise to keep on pushing boundaries for an ever more positive ride experience. Information is exchanged between rider and bike largely via the smart visor. This spans the rider’s entire field of view and provides not only wind protection but also relevant information, which it projects straight into the line of sight as and when it is needed. In terms of design and function, the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 takes its cues from various striking elements in the history of BMW Motorrad, adding a contemporary twist each time. The black frame triangle, for example, harks back to the first ever motorcycle by BMW Motorrad, the R32, made in 1923. Seen from the side the Vision Vehicle resembles a naked bike, with the ergonomics and seating position of a roadster. The forms and execution of the power unit resemble the traditional BMW boxer engine, but it is actually a zero- emission drivetrain.