BMW i Vision Dee: Insights to a High-Tech Future

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuturistic Vision
For nearly 50 years, BMW vehicles have been called “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and that clever slogan will forever be associated with the German automaker’s products of precision. However, at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company focused on a digital future that highlights the emotional experiences autos provide. This vision takes shape in a concept vehicle called the BMW i Vision Dee — an acronym for Digital Emotional Experience — intending to create a stronger relationship between the driver and the car. Dee is the “Ultimate Driving Companion.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMerging Software and Hardware
“With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showcasing what is possible when hardware and software merge,” said Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Oliver Zipse. “In this way, we are able to exploit the full potential of digitalization to transform the car into an intelligent companion. That is the future for automotive manufacturers — and, also, for BMW: the fusion of the virtual experience with genuine driving pleasure,” Zipse observed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHistory of Close Automotive Relationships
While the technology behind the i Vision Dee is advanced, the idea of drivers maintaining a close relationship with their cars is nothing new. To emphasize the point in Las Vegas, BMW presented the i Vision Dee with a couple of vehicles that always had special relationships with their drivers: Herbie from Disney’s “The Love Bug” and KITT, the talkative Pontiac Trans Am that shared screen time with actor David Hasselhoff in the TV series “Knight Rider.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTaking Steps Toward NEUE KLASSE
Prior to the 2023 CES, BMW had already announced plans to introduce a completely new range of electric vehicles called the NEUE KLASSE, with deliveries beginning in 2025. These new models will be centered on three primary pillars: Electric, Circular (sustainability) and Digital. The i Vision Dee represents the Digital future, showcasing possibilities for this next generation of electric BMWs.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceStill a BMW
Since digital experiences are hallmarks of the i Vision Dee concept, designers kept the car’s exterior shape simple with a unique take on classic BMW design elements such as the iconic kidney grille, twin headlights and the Hofmeister Kink at the rearmost pillar. Short overhangs and large wheels of i Vision Dee provide an expectation of performance within the shape of a classic sport sedan.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDigital Expressions
The vehicular experience starts with the exterior, which uses graphics, colors, lights and sound effects to communicate and interact with surroundings. The headlights and grille exist on a shared digital surface BMW refers to as phygital — the fusion of physical and digital. This space allows the vehicle to express different emotions to show happiness, astonishment or even disapproval when another vehicle cuts off the i Vision Dee in traffic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceE Ink Technology
One of this BMW concept’s extraordinary party tricks is E Ink technology, which allows the driver to change the car’s exterior color. That in itself is a bit of an understatement — an ePaper film from BMW’s partner E Ink is applied to the body of the car. With 240 E Ink segments that can display up to 32 different colors, the i Vision Dee possesses an almost infinite selection of exterior color patterns that can be generated in seconds. Imagine every driver in a household choosing the color of the family car, yet having only one car in the driveway — or that the car’s outward appearance could be changed to match the driver’s mood. The possibilities are endless.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWelcoming
Utilizing a range of sensors, the i Vision Dee can identify its approaching driver and provide a welcoming “face” with “eyes” at the front that follow the person on approach. An avatar representing the driver appears in the window with a welcoming message, and doors can be programmed to open automatically for the ultimate welcome.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSimple Interior Design
BMW doesn’t expect to completely eliminate buttons from the interiors of its production vehicles, but the Dee concept minimizes their use. The existing controls use “shy-tech sensors” that appear when needed and remain invisible when their function is unnecessary. With high-quality, sustainable fabric, the interior has the vibe of a comfortable living room. And unlike almost every modern car on the road today, the i Vision Dee has no center display screen.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHead-Up Display
The key element of Dee’s communication with its occupants is a new BMW head-up display system. Since 2004 BMW has offered a head-up display in its vehicles, but this latest version expands across the entire width of the windshield, replacing the central display screen and utilizing the largest display area in the car. BMW confirmed that this full-width head-up display will be used in the NEUE KLASSE vehicles when they arrive in 2025.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMixed Reality Slider
As exciting as E Ink technology is for the i Vision Dee’s exterior, the same level of occupant engagement occurs within the cabin via BMW’s Mixed Reality Slider. The driver can choose from five levels of reality via a slider in the dashboard, starting with the head-up display. As the levels increase, digital content on the windshield changes, progressing from basic driving information and to eventually creating an augmented reality view of the road ahead. At the top level, the windshield can present a virtual world that completely eliminates the outside world from view. The side windows can be simultaneously dimmed to completely eliminate any view of reality.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTrusted Companion
“With BMW i Vision Dee, we are showing how the car can be seamlessly integrated into your digital life and become a trusty companion,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “Implemented the right way, technology will create worthwhile experiences, make you a better driver and simply bring humans and machines closer together” van Hooydonk predicted.

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