A while back I saw another one of BMW’s “out there” concepts. Whilst the concept that became the electric i8 made it to production, we haven’t really seen any of the new technology from the GINA or the VISION NEXT 100 concept. Mainly because they are so far from reality.
Their idea for “Alive Geometry” seems a little disconnected – and for a manufacturer that prides itself on connectivity, it does seem odd. When you buy a BMW today you get a number of smarts such as being able to unlock or start your car from a longer distance away than most cars, and in some markets, you get full connectivity to 4G telecoms and data plans that effectively mean the car becomes a mobile office.
The disconnection comes in the fact that “Alive Geometry” really only does two things:
- On the exterior of the car, it means a fully closed exterior with moving wheel covers to ensure optimal aerodynamics.
- On the inside, the top of the dash panel beneath the windscreen is a mosaic of 800 triangles!
These two don’t seem to be connected, however come under the “Alive Geometry” name.
I can understand the first idea. Many cars of the 1930s through to the early 1960s had rear wheel covers that were fitted to the arch to form a seamless side panel thus helping the airflow along the side of the vehicle. On this concept, however, the whole front wing moves with the steering angle, perhaps to increase the area for the airflow to work on. It looks like the sides are made from a skin that could have been updated from the GINA concept.
It is the interior part of the concept that is curious to me. It is an analogue display – perhaps a throwback from all the digital that we now have in a car! BMW says that “an analogue display system on the dashboard assists the driver through a mosaic of 800 moveable triangles with red sides spread across the entire dashboard. The triangles generate movements that are intuitively understood by the driver”. WT??
Maybe I’m getting old or I’m not a good candidate for MENSA, but …. would I intuitively know what the meaning of 800 moving triangles is? I struggle understanding the icons in mobile apps!!
The dashboard is designed for a “hybrid” autonomous car, in other words, you could drive it if you wanted to – rather like a Tesla today. In Ease mode, the “driver” is encouraged to switch off from reality and be “entertained”, whilst in Boost mode (not Beast or Ludicrous mode), the driver has a very Zen experience and becomes “one with the vehicle”. Apparently “intelligent materials enable more intense contact with the road” for the driver. If you can’t wait for BMW to put this concept into production, simply come and drive on Sydney’s poorly maintained roads and you too will have an intense contact with the road.
The final piece of the “Alive Geometry” – is that those 800 triangles are also connected to a full windscreen Heads Up Display. This suggests that the driver who is having an intense experience will spend more time looking at the windscreen and not through it, at the road ahead.
I sometimes think that the designers have lost the plot on personal transportation. I think they forget that real world physics and logistics will mean that these ideas (although nice to dream about) are often unworkable. Do we really what thousands of driverless “pods” lined up in a traffic jam because the volume of them is so great they cannot get to where they have been programmed to go? Remember, any machine can do a few simply items cleanly and efficiently – it is when you add a human into any part of the process that the whole thing turns to crud!
From BMW’s own documents, they appear to want to create a new world (the Fourth Reich?) in the next 100 years:
- They will build cars.
- They will become urban planners – presumably dictating where people live and work.
- They will become your chauffeur – probably for a fee and replacing all the car sharing schemes.
- They will design the fourth dimension (?)
- They will create jobs – “but not like the ones we know today”!
- They will confer “status”.
- They will get closer to their customers.
- They will become a data dealer and protector – does this mean they will sell our transportation data or charge a fee to not do so?
- They will be “its own rival” – I think we have all seen enough internal fighting with Governments to want BMW to do it!
- They will no longer deal with target groups, only individual customers – you will lose your job if you work in the dealer network!
- They will conjure up worlds of experiences – especially when they mix autonomous and non-autonomous cars on the same road!
- They will make “vegan” cars …. errr, no more roadkill? The infamous Moose test is about to get much harder.
Some of these “hypotheses” as the company is calling them, could be quite dangerous to the stability and control of the human race. Should BMW mean Be More Wary?