- Mini has unveiled an electric and self-driving compact car concept it sees as a vision for vehicles sold in 2030
- At a turn of a switch, the Urbanaut mini-MPV doubles as a relaxing sanctuary for drivers and passengers
- It features a comfortable sofa in the rear, fold-down dashboard day-bed, rotating chairs and a dining table
- The windscreen swings open from the top hinges to provide what designers have called a ‘street balcony’
For many people, the word “automation” conjures up dystopian scenes of humans versus machines. A future in which people set aside our differences to oppose the sleek, metallic products of our own engineering. Few but growth-minded business types get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling of optimism when the word “automation” comes up. And for good reason.
There’s virtually no job that won’t be touched by artificial intelligence (A.I.) and robotics. According to a recent Ball State study, robots and A.I. accounted for around 87 percent of job loss in the United States between 2000 and 2010. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently estimated that 38 percent of American jobs may be at risk by the 2030s. And in 2016, a 55-page report titled from the Executive Office of the President painted a similarly dire picture, warning that millions of workers may be displaced.
Because plugging in an electric vehicle is a hassle.
BMW first announced its wireless charging pilot program back in 2017. It works with BMW 530e plug-in hybrid models and the pilot program is helping people test the ability to charge the cars using magnetic induction. The system works in much the same way as we use induction charging for cell phones, except the charging pad is bigger. Parking over the pad starts the charging process automatically and the driver doesn’t have to do anything more. We knew the technology would make it to the US eventually, and now BMW has announced it’s testing it here through a pilot program.
As the auto industry contemplates the shift from sales to services, automated logistics like this new BMW car-cleaning drone are coming into focus.
Automakers have been talking about a shift from new car sales towards a more service-oriented business model for some time, but for many of these car companies such a shift has proven difficult. One reason for this emerged in recent news about the General Motors Maven car-sharing experiment, in which the massive automaker struggled to manage direct consumer relations that have traditionally been handled by dealers. But what if the shift toward services took advantage of maturing automation technology, like car washes provided by autonomous flying drones? That’s a possibility that BMW seems to be looking into, according to recently-published patent application documents.
This new application envisions an automated system by which an unmanned aerial drone can be reserved or summoned to automatically wash a car. The drone would be able to recognize the target vehicle, determine that all windows and doors are closed and send an alert if they are not, detect the level of dirt, remove any objects that prevent cleaning as well as take before and after photos to be sent to the customer. The washing process would involve pre-washing, washing, drying and waxing, although the patent application does not specify details for how the washing would take place. The drone could be located in the vehicle it would clean, essentially making it a self-cleaning vehicle, or it could be placed in another vehicle that would act as a home base for drones that clean other vehicles.
From bridges to cars, 3D printing proved this year that it’s still relevant and exciting.
The hype may have died down a little, but 3D printing was still creating waves in manufacturing in 2018. On the important-but-boring side, manufacturing companies are using the tech for things like weight reduction and cost savings. More interestingly, architects carried out a number of experiments that pushed the artistic limits of what 3D printing can do.
Here are some of the standout achievements and creations from 2018:
American and Chinese consumers are head over heels for SUVs — a mutual love affair that seems likely to expand in the coming years into growing demand for electric SUVs, according to a new report.
Mock-up of a futuristic transportation pod looks a bit like the cabin of an airliner, but with a crucial difference.
The Virgin Hyperloop One mock-up has luxury touches but no windows.BMW Designworks.
If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a hyperloop capsule might look like, you’re in luck.
German car companies, BMW and Volkswagen are teaming up with ChargePoint to install a network of fast-charging stations for electric cars in the U.S. Continue reading… “BMW, VW join forces to build fast-charging stations for electric cars in US”
More than 90 percent of BMW’s cars will have connectivity built into them.
BMW has around 3 million vehicles that are directly connected to their data centers, according to BMW’s VP of IT Infrastructure Mario Mueller at GigaOM’s Structure Europe conference in London. That number will grow to 10 million connected vehicles by 2018, meaning BMW will increasingly be operating as an IT and cloud-focused company,
Tesla Model S
More people bought a Tesla Model S, the $70,000 (and up) electric car, in the first quarter of 2013 than bought any of the similarly priced gasoline-powered cars from the top three German luxury brands, according to data from LMC Automotive. About 4,750 buyers bought a Model S while just over 3,000 people bought Mercedes’ top-level sedan. (Video)
An employee at BMW rests between shifts at the plant in Dingolfing.
Its name is a byword for providing drivers with every comfort – and now it seems BMW is taking the same approach with its workforce. A section of the luxury car manufacturer’s works at Dingolfing in Southern Bavaria has been nicknamed ‘Altstadt‘ – German for Old Town – by the grateful employees who say they might otherwise be on the job scrapheap. (Pics)
Suits that Transport
Students of automotive design and fashion at the European Institute of Design in Barcelona have joined forces to explore the futures of urban mobility, in collaboration with Iniciativa BMW. “Suits That Transport”—translated a little cagily from the Spanish “El traje que te transporta”— is the name given to an exhibition of the students final outcomes currently on public display on the Rambla Catalunya in central Barcelona. (pics)