MOTORCYCLE/VISION/DESIGN: Pretty far in the future!
Munich/Los Angeles. In its anniversary year 2016, the BMW Group looked unusually far into the future and is developing vision vehicles that anticipate the mobility needs of people in around three decades and offer corresponding solutions. In doing so, it assumes that mobility will become increasingly diverse and connected.
Following the vision vehicles from BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group presented the VISION NEXT 100 as part of the exhibition „Iconic Impulses. The BMW Group Future Experience“ on 11 October 2016 in Los Angeles, the BMW Group presented its vision of mobility on two wheels: the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100.
„The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 embodies the BMW Group’s understanding of motorcycling in a connected world: it is an analogue experience in a digital age. It lets me break out of everyday life. From the moment I get on, I experience absolute freedom. – ‚The Great Escape‘.“, says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, about the core idea behind BMW Motorrad’s vision vehicle.
The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is a symbol of the ultimate riding experience. Without helmet and other protective clothing, the rider feels centrifugal forces, acceleration, wind and nature. The rider can experience his environment with all his senses and enjoy every moment. The design of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is the essence of a motorbike: the perfect unity of man and machine. Every detail is designed with high quality in mind. In doing so, the design team formally picks up on the distinctive elements from BMW Motorrad history and reinterprets them – both visually and functionally.
The vision vehicle is immediately recognisable as a „real BMW“ through iconic elements such as the black triangular frame, the white lining and the classic shape of the boxer engine in which the emission-free drive unit operates.
BMW Motorrad’s past and future come together here in expressive form.
The triangular frame – a classic icon rethought
The black triangular frame of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 deliberately quotes the shape of the first BMW motorbike – the R32 from 1923 – but reinterprets it as a functional sculpture: the frame connects the rear wheel and front wheel in a dynamic sweep. There are no visible bearings or joints; it appears to be cast from one piece.
In side view, the frame gives the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 the effect of a naked bike. The ergonomics and seating position are designed accordingly, as on a roadster. Thanks to the clever arrangement of the surfaces, the frame provides the wind and weather protection of a fully enclosed motorbike. The surface of the frame is made of matt black textile. Its silky matt sheen and fine linings once again highlight the characteristic frame shape and at the same time interpret a classic BMW detail in a modern way. The BMW logo is shown to its best advantage on the dark frame: while driving, it glows in the familiar colours of blue and white.
Flexframe – the frame steers with you
A flexframe stretches from the front wheel to the rear wheel of the BMW VISION NEXT 100 as if from a single mould. Its flexibility allows steering manoeuvres without the joints that are common today. When the handlebars are moved, the entire frame deforms and makes the change of direction possible. Depending on the riding situation, the forces required for this vary: steering manoeuvres when stationary are particularly easy, while the frame offers high rigidity at high speeds.
The drive – inspired by the BMW boxer engine
The drive unit sits in the middle of the black frame. It is both a stylistic element and a reminder of history: in shape and design, it is reminiscent of the traditional BMW boxer engine, but houses the emission-free drive unit. Depending on the driving situation, the outer shape of the „boxer“ changes. When at rest, it lies close to the ground. As soon as the journey begins, the engine block extends sideways. While riding, it optimises the aerodynamics and weather protection of the motorbike. Polished aluminium gives the area a high-quality look.
The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 has a very slim and driving-oriented appearance. The design of the front is minimalist, refined with high-quality details. A large metal reflector is integrated into the frame above the front wheel. Embedded in this is the daytime running light consisting of two U-shaped elements lying one above the other. The reflector also serves as a wind deflector. In combination with the integrated small wind shield, it ensures an aerodynamically optimised airflow.Body parts such as the seat, the upper frame cover and the mudguards are made of carbon.Two filigree red luminous bodies below the seat shell serve as tail light and direction indicator. They quote the typical double C-shape of the tail lights on today’s BMW motorbikes and reinterpret them for the future.The tyres not only integrate a damping function, their variable profile actively adapts to the respective surface. This ensures optimum grip in every riding situation.Analogue elements in a digital age
Despite the absence of displays, cables or switches, one element in particular stands out within the clear forms of the front: A red toggle lever at the right-hand end of the handlebar. Designed as a deliberately mechanical element, it blocks or releases the throttle grip. A reference to the analogue experience – the original of motorcycling.
The externally hinged hand levers are a further reference to motorbike history.BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100:
In which world does the motorbike of the future move?
„When we develop a motorbike, we usually think five to ten years into the future. Looking further ahead, into a much more distant future, is therefore particularly exciting and extremely appealing to us. I am convinced that with the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 we are outlining a coherent future scenario for the BMW Motorrad brand,“ explains Edgar Heinrich.For the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100, the design team is looking several decades ahead. In the future, the world will be defined by networking and ubiquitous digitalisation. Most vehicles will drive autonomously and life will be largely organised by digital services. More and more people are living in urban environments.
Digital technology for an analogue experience
The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 uses the possibilities of the digital world to raise the analogue riding experience on a motorbike to a new level. The basis for the special experience of freedom is the intelligent networking of rider, motorbike and environment. It makes critical driving situations predictable. Combined with active assistance systems, the rider of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is in control at all times. The systems not only look ahead and alert the rider to the need for action, they can also intervene protectively during the ride. Previously common motorbike clothing such as a helmet or rider equipment with protectors is therefore no longer necessary.
„Self Balancing“ – active, intelligent assistance systems
The future active assistance systems will automatically balance the motorbike while driving and when stationary. In this way, the systems can give the motorbike more stability and the rider more safety in certain riding situations. Beginners are safely guided through every riding situation. Falling over is not possible.
They also balance the motorbike independently when stationary – the motorbike remains stationary even if the rider has already dismounted.
The systems also ensure a particularly agile and dynamic riding experience. Experienced riders benefit from an even more agile motorbike. The assistance systems expand his capabilities.
Every rider – regardless of ability and practice – can thus constantly expand his or her limits and positively enhance the riding experience. This makes every ride an experience of freedom right from the start.
The digital companion – Networked. Omnipresent. Discreet.
The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 and the specially designed rider equipment form a functional unit which, like a „digital companion“, provides the rider with information and, if necessary, active support depending on the situation. The focus is on the riding experience. The digital companion is correspondingly discreet: it is always active, but acts imperceptibly in the background until it intervenes. Whether as a display via the user interface or as an assistance system: it only appears when it is necessary or desired by the rider.
„With the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100, it was important to us that no constantly present digitality interferes with the analogue driving experience. The display and control concept acts so inconspicuously that the result is an absolutely natural and trusting way of moving for the rider. This results in the rider feeling completely comfortable and also free on his machine. As interface designers, we always work to offer the driver the important information at the best time, in the right place and in the right dose,“ explains Holger Hampf, Head of Design Customer Experience at the BMW Group.
The Visor – the right information at the right time
The main part of the information exchange between driver and vehicle takes place via the Visor, a pair of field-of-vision-enclosing data glasses with windshield function. The Visor projects situationally relevant data directly into the driver’s field of vision. This is divided into four display areas, which are controlled by the viewing height: Depending on whether the driver raises or lowers his gaze, the displayed content also changes. The normal viewing level deliberately does not show any content while driving and thus allows absolute focus on the driving experience. Only when there is a need for action or the driver wants certain information does the Visor become active.
„Thanks to its comprehensive networking with data from the environment and the systems working intelligently in the background, the motorbike knows the route ahead. Based on this information, the rider receives tips on the ideal line, the lean angle or danger spots,“ Hampf continues. In this case, the symbol of the digital companion appears in the lower third, an inverted triangle from which two horizontal lines develop. The display is similar to that in an aeroplane cockpit: it shows the current lean angle as well as the ideal line. If there is a deviation, the driver can correct it himself. If the rider does not react or reacts too late, the motorbike adjusts itself. Through these indications, the beginner learns more about himself and about what is possible with a motorbike. Experienced riders can always challenge themselves and improve profound skills.
Looking up provides the rider with a „rear-view mirror“ function and shows what is happening behind him. If the rider lowers his gaze a little below the normal viewing level, a menu opens up where the rider can call up the individual functions using finger gesture control. Looking even lower opens the map view, which shows the driver the route he has chosen.
Smart. Active. Flexible. – the rider equipment
The rider’s clothing of the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 is an essential part of the unique riding experience. Classically designed in black and white, the airy suit enhances the feeling of freedom during the ride. It is as much a fashion statement as it is wind and weather protection. If necessary, a climate function cools or warms the rider. A diagonal zip across the chest evokes associations with traditional motorbike clothing. The flexible band structure on the suit and shoes is inspired by muscle cords. It can actively support the rider depending on the riding situation and thus relieve the strain.
The neck area of the rider’s clothing can be filled with air at higher speeds, then relieves the cervical spine and increases comfort. Variable openings provide additional ventilation. Apart from the comfort functions mentioned, the clothing has no safety function. This is not necessary due to the intelligent assistance systems.
Sensors in the driver’s equipment monitor data such as pulse and body temperature so that the suit can regulate the climate control accordingly if the driver feels cold or stressed. With vibrating elements on the arms and legs, the clothing provides hints for navigation or indicates when the limit is reached in a leaning position. Rider and machine thus become a functional unit, the riding experience even more intense.
Edgar Heinrich: „The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 combines the best of the digital and analogue worlds. It offers the maximum, emotional experience. ‚The Great Escape'“.
BRAND: BMW AG
virtualdesignmagazine Michael Hiller