At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW unveiled an updated version of its color-changing car technology that expands the concept beyond black-and-white to a full color palette.
The BMW i Vision Dee, the latest concept car on display at CES 2023, featured the technology from the German automaker.
The BMW i Vision Dee, like its concept from last year, the iX Flow, has a color-changing exterior made of e-ink film, which is similar to the material used in book readers. This was announced by BMW.
However, while the iX Flow could only change between black and white, the i Vision Dee can change between up to 32 colors, and its design makes it possible to create completely individualized, digitally controlled patterns whenever you want.
The technology makes it possible to have a full spectrum of colors instead of just black and white. BMW said that the color-changing exterior is one of a bunch of features that are meant to make people feel more connected to their cars. Digital Emotional Experience is represented by the word "Dee" in the name.
Oliver Zipse, chairman of the BMW Group, stated, "With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showcasing what is possible when hardware and software merge."
"We are able to utilize the full potential of digitalization to transform the automobile into an intelligent companion in this manner."
The car's exterior is divided into 240 sections that can be individually controlled, allowing for multicolored looks. It was developed with technology company E Ink.
For the exterior, the team had to modify E Ink's technology for curved surfaces, develop new electronic controls, and use laser cutting techniques.
The technology that was used to create the vehicle's exterior came from the company E Ink. The idea for the i Vision Dee also includes other features that are meant to combine the digital and physical worlds and represent a vision for how cars will be designed in the future.
One is called the Mixed Reality Slider, and it is a five-step slider on the dashboard that lets you move your finger further along the slider to bring immersive digital elements into the interior.
In step one of the slider, the dash appears analog, with digital switches and displays hidden until needed. BMW had to develop color-changing panels for use on curved surfaces. Step four includes augmented reality projections that could, for instance, highlight a cyclist or pedestrian crossing the road in front of you. Driving-related information is displayed on the windscreen display in the steps above.
A completely virtual world would be entered by moving the slider all the way to the extreme, where a digital landscape projected on the dash would take the place of the real world.
"With BMW i Vision Dee, we are showing how the car can be seamlessly integrated into your digital life and become a trusty companion," stated BMW Group design head Adrian van Hooydonk. "The interior features advanced augmented-reality controls." Your digital world can be accessed through the vehicle itself, with the driver always in charge."
"Technology will create worthwhile experiences, improve your driving, and simply bring humans and machines closer together if implemented correctly."
The i Vision Dee also brings an upgrade to BMW's Head-Up Display, which can be found on the windscreen. It is one part of the i Vision Dee that will soon be used in BMW production vehicles and now spans the entire width of the windscreen. According to the company, it will be available in its Neue Klasse models beginning in 2025.
The concept car offers voice interaction, speaking to the user in a natural language, to complete the personalized experience. With its digitally enhanced headlights and grille, it also makes "facial expressions," like winking.
The car has voice-activated interfaces. Last year's black-and-white iX Flow was BMW's first demonstration of the color-changing e-ink technology. It was intended to match the driver's mood and save energy.
With the MINI Vision Next 100 concept, which featured a color-changing vehicle that could accommodate multiple passengers, the company had previously explored these concepts.