MUNICH -- BMW's Vision Next 100 futuristic self-driving concept car explores the automaker's ideas for how automobiles will evolve as self-driving vehicles increasingly take over the world's roads.
The concept is a highly customized car that can adapt to the driver's changing needs, BMW said in a statement, as it unveiled the Vision Next 100 at a gala event close to its global headquarters here today to mark its centenary.
The car's driver-vehicle interactions are managed by what BMW calls Alive Geometry, which offers a choice of driver-controlled or vehicle-controlled operations. Its interior changes according to the mode of travel. In self-driving mode, the steering wheel and center console retract and the seats and door trim merge to form a single unit so that the driver and front-seat passenger can turn towards each other.
The Vision Next 100 anticipates a not-too-distant future world where the majority of cars will probably be completely self-driving, BMW said. "Future mobility will connect every area of people's lives and that's where we see new opportunities for premium mobility," BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in the statement.
BMW said its cars will remain driver-focused because the company expects that owners of its vehicles will still want to spend most of the time they are in their car at the wheel. Drivers will be able to let their cars do the work but only when the driver wants, the automaker said.
"We are moving from The Ultimate Driving Machine to the Ultimate Driver, where technology is making any driver a better driver," design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said at the gala event.