Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Digitization has always been a keystone of BMW’s engineering and technology philosophies, emphasizing the sustainability and human connection of mobility. Thus, as we move into a future ripe with alternative realities and artificial intelligence, the German automaker has innovated a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) car of the future that is fully connected, fully digitized, and fully electric. In proper fashion, BMW invited us to its hometown of Munich to witness the vehicle in person ahead of the 2023 CES debut in Las Vegas.
In Germany, BMW’s entire product planning team was on-hand for demonstrations and presentations of the i Vision Dee’s superlative capabilities. Aptly named Dee, which stands for Digital Emotional Experience, the seamless and authenticity of the vehicle’s DNA is its greatest asset. BMW vehicles are becoming more intelligent but with human interactions in a natural way. Highlighted by its digital soul, Dee becomes your road mate as she blends emotions and strong bonds between her “machine state” and “human state.” Dee engages all five senses and combines digital and analog references to help you become a better driver. Theoretically anyway. However, you can choose not to use her advancements.
Fast forward to CES 2023 to revel in BMW’s unveiling of the i Vision to an energetic crowd of forward thinkers and AI enthusiasts. They were equally immersed in Dee, who bridges the real and virtual worlds and provides a glimpse of what the “Ultimate Digital Driving Machine” might look like in the future. Some of her highlights include real-time visualization of your social media platforms, responsiveness to your inquiries, tint-capable side windows to create a holistic experience through graphic pictures and avatars, information projected on the windshield, and the use of digital ink to change exterior messaging. When you first approach, the future car employs a wide range of sensors to start communicating while providing feedback to your inquisitions. Also, she can visually express various moods such as wonderment, delight, or approval. Are you ready for BMW i Vision Dee to integrate with your driving world?
“With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showing what is possible when hardware and software are combined. This allows us to exploit the full potential of digitalization to transform the car into an intelligent companion. That is the future for automotive manufacturers – and for BMW, also: the fusion of the virtual experience with genuine driving pleasure,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
From a design perspective, Dee is quite fascinating, simple in nature, and reductive in physical features. Built with less complexity, she is presented with a nostalgic frontend from the 60s, utilizes no side mirrors, and sits wide and confident. The headlights and closed BMW kidney grille form a common phygital icon (fusion of physical and digital) on a uniform surface, which can change expressions using E Ink technology. The design team looked at classic BMW vehicles for references since familiarity and strong heritage build trust. Inside, the clean and flush cockpit is just as reductive as the exterior and commingles the BMW Mixed Reality Slider with the advanced Head-up Display (HUD) for the digital highlights and central operating controls. BMW says that using shy-tech sensors (touch) on the instrument panel allows the driver to determine the amount of digital content they want to see on the HUD. The systems feature four levels, from analog to augmented reality to an entirely virtual world.
Based on the images, you may wonder what is going on with the color schemes. Let me introduce you to the world premiere of full-color E Ink technology. I was astounded in Germany when modern-day artisans demonstrated the fully variable, multi-hued, and individually configurable exterior utilizing up to 32 color choices. The process includes ePaper film layered on the BMW i Vision, which in turn features 240 E Ink body segments to create endless pattern and color possibilities. And of course, the process is all digital to allow drivers to personalize their selections based on moments and moods. Today you may want to ride out in Jamaican flag colors; tomorrow may represent the World Cup champs from Argentina.
“A BMW lives by its unparalleled digital performance. BMW i Vision Dee is about perfect integration of virtual and physical experiences. Whoever excels at integrating the customer’s digital worlds into the vehicle at all levels will master the future of car-building,” said Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development.
A ceremonious beginning and ending in Las Vegas left us all with vicarious premonitions of what possibilities the future holds. New experiences for you and your friends beyond reality have come to fruition by way of Dee if you desire her advanced digital potentials. The BMW i Vision Dee is your portal into a virtual ecosphere with fresh lifestyle facets to simplify mobility through AI when merged with real driving encounters. As Jimmy Hendrix would say, “Are You Experienced?”