BMW has revealed its self-driving Vision Next 100 concept as the company celebrates its 100th anniversary.

BMW HAS SAID the future of its vehicles will be based around being “tailored to every customer’s individual preferences”. More than that, the company which produces, in its words, the Ultimate Driving Machine, will going forward be focussed on automated vehicles.

“In the not too distant future the majority of cars will probably be completely self-driving and travel the streets of cities inhabited by far more people than today,” BMW said in a statement.

At a gala event to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary, BMW CEO Harald Kruger said the Vision Next 100 is the first of four concept cars from other brands within the BMW family; these concepts will all focus on autonomous driving, technology and connectivity.

But there’s more to this thing than just being a showcase for clever connectivity and it’s the body that’s just as important as anything else. See, BMW wants it to showcase new ways of manufacturing. Indeed, Vision Next 100 is made from a combination of carbon-fibre and plastic.

“At some point presses that punch out hundreds of steel parts may well become obsolete,” said BMW in a statement. “Technologies such as rapid manufacturing and four-dimensional printing will produce not only components or objects but intelligent and networked materials.”

We’ve already seen what 3D printers can do, and some car companies are already starting to make use of this technology in component production.

Beyond the body of the Vision Next 100 concept, are the way the driver would control the ‘car of the future,’ and according to BMW that would be via Alive Geometry where the owner has a choice of either driving themselves or allowing the vehicle to drive. Depending on the selected mode the interior will adapt, meaning, in autonomous driving mode, the steering wheel and the centre console would retract into the dashboard and the driver’s seats would swivel allowing the driver and front-seat passenger to face each other. But is this really how we want to travel in cars in the future?

“We are moving from The Ultimate Driving Machine to the Ultimate Driver, where technology is making any driver a better driver,” BMW design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk said at the gala event.


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