The 2016 CES, which happens in Las Vegas, should be a fair for “consumer electronics”, but many cars are showing up there. Some as a product themselves, as the new Chevrolet Bolt, which will be officially presented tomorrow, but has been revealed here more than one month ago. Others are just a glimpse of future cars serving as a stage for new technology. This is the case of the oncoming BMW i8 Roadster, revealed today at CES as the i-Vision Future Interaction Concept.
The new car is similar to the i8 Concept Spyder that first emerged back in 2012, apart from the fact that the new one has no doors, showcases technologies and has a beautiful orange paint. It is also a good indication that BMW may be really thinking about the mass production of this version of i8. And this is pretty much what is left to say about the car itself.
On its mission as a technology showcase, the i-Vision Future Interaction Concept features a new generation of BMW head-up display that will be used to assist autonomous driving when it is made available. It acts associated with three driving modes: pure drive, assist and auto. In pure drive, it projects information such as speed, fuel consumption, navigation instructions, speed limits and range on the windshield to the driver. Nothing apparently new, but the information is projected in ultra high definition and autostereoscopically, what means it has a variable depth in order to obtain the best resolution possible depending on the light that hits the windscreen.
On the assist mode, the information on navigation is also active, or else, it is connected to real-time traffic information and provides the fastest time of travel possible. The auto mode, needless to say, has the car controlling itself with no driver input needed. The head-up display becomes a mere distraction unless when it leaves its approved lane. In such situations, a red light is turned on in order for the former passenger on the driver’s seat to become a driver again.
The other technology is a huge 11 cm x 40 cm screen over the dashboard. It is controlled by Air Touch, or hand gestures, a system that is already offered by the new 7 Series. Ok, we get that the i8 is a technology marvel on wheels, but we confess we prefer to see BMW vehicles in regular car shows. Of all brands, it should be one of the last pièce de résistance about turning vehicles into appliances.