BMW's vision for autonomous shared Mini cars is a 'community experience'
Drivers in UK cities in the future could share Mini cars that are tailored to their individual needs, BMW Group has said.
Unveiling its vision for the next “two or three decades”, the German-based firm claimed motorists would be able to call on a fully autonomous Mini to pick them up “wherever they are, day or night”.
It described the Every Mini Is My Mini project as “a particular take on car-sharing” whereby each vehicle will adapt itself to the driver’s “individual tastes, interests and preferences”.
Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design, commented: “Mini looks to offer smart and bespoke mobility in cities that engages all the senses. And in the future, you might not actually have to own a vehicle to enjoy the benefits.”
BMW Group unveiled Vision Next 100 versions of its Mini, BMW and Rolls-Royce brands as part of an event at The Roundhouse in north London to celebrate the company’s centenary.
Mini’s design chief, Anders Warming, said: “It’s not just about ‘my car’ – it’s also about sharing the car so you can share these experiences with other people.
It becomes less of an owning idea and rather a community experience.”
The Mini car will have a “Cooperiser” – named after John Cooper who developed the Mini Cooper – in the centre of its dashboard.
This will illuminate like a kaleidoscope and select personal settings for each driver, such as entertainment, communications and autonomous-driving options.
Mr Warming said: “Let’s say I want to drive to the airport and I’m flying somewhere else.
“This car will recognise me and I will drive to Heathrow. Then I’ll get out of the car and I might fly to New York. This same car will greet me on the other side with the same preferences and will make a seamless connectivity, a seamless mobility, experience.”
There will also be an Inspire Me option to ask the car to make suggestions of where you can go to “explore things you have never seen before”, Mr Warming added.
Giles Taylor, chief of design at Rolls-Royce, said future models of that brand would be “bespoke”, created for each “unique super-luxury patron”.
He likened this to being “much like defining your own yacht, your own suit or your own shoes”.
Mr Taylor claimed that chauffeurs – which were “synonymous” with the brand – would be “retired” because of the autonomous driving system. The result would be “the perfect view” as the front seats and the view of the back of the driver’s head would be removed.
Rolls-Royce is also set to provide owners with a “grand arrival”, whereby the roof and door opens to allow them to stand up and “gracefully step out”.
Meanwhile, the BMW car of the future would offer a “boost” mode with support such as displaying the ideal driving line or warnings about oncoming vehicles being given when the driver is fully in control.
But in “ease” mode the steering wheel retracts and the angle of the front seats can be altered to make it easier for the driver and passenger to face each other in a “relaxed and welcoming atmosphere”.
BMW Group was not specific about when such developments may be introduced to vehicles on public roads.