BMW says there is “huge potential” for such screen projection technology, far beyond the compact windshield displays that drivers have grown accustomed to over the past two decades.
It would be easy to assume that phase five of the Dee system is for a fully autonomous vehicle, where passengers can shut off the outside world and watch movies or other streaming content. However, as an indication of the limitations of BMW’s approach to the concept, the i Vision Dee is completely devoid of autonomous driving technology.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Design Director at BMW Group, said: “Augmented reality is something that is not only interesting but also really useful for driver orientation. You can focus on the road ahead and the information you need will appear to be projected on the road. What we are introducing on this Vision vehicle is a new technology that allows you to use the full width of the windshield.”
Wanting to confirm that this is not volatile software, Van Hooydonk said BMW is seriously considering building the type of HUD display shown in the i Vision Dee concept. “We see a lot of benefit because, again, your eyes are on the road,” he said, adding how the technology could replace conventional dashboard screens and see the instrument cluster completely removed from behind the steering wheel.
BMW says the production version of the new HUD technology will be used in cars from 2025 onwards. It refers to these unannounced electric vehicles as new class.
While impressive in concept form, BMW’s take on the future of the automotive HUD is far from unique. Swiss technology company WayRay is also working on an advanced augmented reality interface for the windshield. The company claims no other existing HUD can match its 3D visualization, showing the vehicle’s speed and range, mapping and trajectories along the road ahead.
Other auto OEMs are also working in this space, with Mercedes adding navigation prompts to the live video feed from the front-facing camera, while both Audi and Ford are working on ways to project the information the driver hit the road with LED headlights. Revealed in August 2022Ford’s system is geared towards nighttime driving, where warnings about speed limits, oncoming intersections and icy weather are projected on the road.
A “friendly” digital companion
Advanced in-car assistants are also a hot topic. While some manufacturers want drivers to use Siri or the Google Assistant through a connected smartphone, others are going their own way. Nioa Chinese electric car company that plans to expand into the US and Europe, has nomia virtual assistant with a digital face housed in a dedicated dashboard display that turns towards the driver when spoken to.
BMW’s assistant Dee doesn’t have a face, at least not in the US and Europe, but BMW says facial expressions could appear in the Chinese market, where demand for such technology is greater.
“We wanted to make a bigger claim beyond speech recognition,” says Van Hooydonk. “We mean that your entire vehicle becomes a companion.” Finally, the concept shown in Las Vegas this week also uses e-ink displays in the headlights to convey emotion, potentially reaching pedestrians and other drivers or when its owner approach. BMW claims certain moods such as joy, surprise and approval can be expressed visually.
BMW says this so-called welcome scenario could also include the car projecting the driver’s avatar onto the side windows when it detects their presence. It’s certainly a novel way to spot your car among other cars in a crowded parking lot, and along with the facial expressions of the headlights, you’ll of course be reminded of it. Lightning McQueen are from car.
The Dee concept itself is, at least in our eyes, a great classic. It’s a three-box design that may not match the supposedly cutting-edge technology on display inside and out, but it still works and is a design we hope BMW can turn into reality. as part of his Neue Klasse cars. From a company criticized for being ungrateful iX and challenge i7Compact concept is a breath of fresh air.
Van Hooydonk says it’s a shape that’s drawn from years of condensing BMW’s design language into “quintessential BMW elements.” “For this car, we took it to the next level and significantly reduced the number of components, because we wanted the digital aspects to take center stage,” said Van Hooydonk.