BMW designers focus on the interior
Not one to let its 100th birthday pass without the release of something truly spectacular; back in March, BMW revealed their most innovative concept since the i8 plug-in hybrid started appearing on our roads.
Taking a revolutionary new approach to design, BMW’s Vision Next 100 team started development on the newest BMW set of concepts by turning the process inside-out. Instead of dwelling on the planned vehicles’ external appearance as a starting point, the cars’ interiors were where the design team decided to start.
The most noticeable innovation on the new concept sketches is the absence of any instrumentation. Instead the driver makes use of a ‘heads-up’ display that is projected onto the car’s windscreen. A tachometer is unnecessary since the concept practically drives itself automatically. BMW intend to eventually do away with the speedometer completely, replacing it with a colour coded scheme – ‘red for too fast’.
All dials, buttons and switches have been consigned to history and even the air vents have been usurped completely by climate regulating fabrics. The concept will be able to communicate with the driver through ‘flowing movements on the dashboard surface made up of around 800 individual triangles’ – similar to a flock of birds changing direction. BMW have titled the technology ‘Alive Geometry’.
The company’s head of user experience, Holger Hampf, says: “In a car, it can be dangerous to distract the driver for too long, so we looked at products for inspiration, where the precise communication of information is important for safety,
“If you look at the health care industry, for example, in order to save lives, content has to be presented in a way such that it is immediately understandable.”
Car interior design was once derided as the domain of the banal, but the emerging trends of autonomous car development have led to a total rethink on cabin layout and essentially what features would be incorporated into an autonomous car.
Opel’s head of interior design, Karim Giordimaina, said: “Before, customers’ expectations focused on the essentials; functionality was key.
“Now they want to sit in an environment that they feel great about. The interior is definitely becoming a reason to purchase the vehicle, a motivator.”
The ‘emotional experience’ to driving has become an a major considering factor during the design process, especially with the capabilities of autonomous cars becoming more advanced on a daily basis; customers won’t be spending all their time in the cars actually driving.
“Car companies, BMW included, are thinking much more about what people do in a car and how they use it,” said Holger Hampf. “I think this comes very much from the question of how to ensure individually mobility remains relevant, most of all for cars that are still owned.”