Two New BMW i8 Spyder Concepts
The production version of the i8 Spyder did not make an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas but BMW did showcase two new concepts spawned from the original concept debuted in 2012. Introducing…the Vision Future Interaction.
The highlight of the preview is really the interior (hence, no doors), which is a glimpse into car cabins of the future. The concept assumes, of course, that fully autonomous driving is a given, and the huge 21” panorama display mounted on the passenger side provides the entertainment when the self-driving mode is activated.
The display is not just any ol’ display – it can be controlled via touch or hand movements, detected by built-in gesture-savvy sensors, which means that the driver can keep his eyes on the road while manipulating the infotainment system. Gesture-control isn’t exactly new technology – we’ve seen TV’s, game consoles and, heck, even toilet bowls respond to the wave of a hand – but it is just finding its way into cars, and BMW’s AirTouch technology is getting car enthusiasts and technophiles all hot and bothered. Imagine changing the music, setting your destination or making a call, with just a flick of the wrist.
The Vision Future Interaction proposes three driving modes: in pure drive, the vehicle gives you the optimum performance; in assist, it finds out the shortest journey based on live traffic data; in auto, well, the driver can amuse himself using the digital display while the car takes over and drives them to the destination.
BMW also presented the i8 Mirrorless concept alongside the i8 Vision Future Interaction (quite a mouthful, isn’t it?), which is much less exciting but perhaps has a much more practical implementation. Basically, the car’s mirrors are replaced by cameras, and a third camera is mounted on the rear windscreen. The images from these cameras are combined into a seamless image projected onto a hi-res screen; the single image provides the driver a wider viewing angle, which of course would improve safety. However, when self-driving cars become a norm, you could stick us in a mirrorless, cameraless and even windowless pod, and we wouldn’t care, as long as the infotainment/networking system is working.
For now though, we already know that a production version of the i8 Spyder is coming. During the presentation of these concepts, a spokesperson said that the company would “build it as soon as possible”. There’s a good chance that the AirTouch and Mirrorless technologies would find their way, in some form, into the production i8 Spyder.