The Consumer Electronics Show is a place to get creative, and BMW has done it again this year. The "BMW i Inside Future sculpture" is a glimpse into the world of automotive holograms, and a 5 Series prototype is taking to the roads to show off its autonomous driving and parking capabilities.
The Inside Future sculpture features BMW HoloActive Touch. A screen is projected in the area above the center console, and users can control infotainment functions through finger movements. With this interface, the user doesn't need to touch the vehicle at all to activate the controls. Since it's intended as a demonstration, the interior is rather stark, although wood trim and a shelf of books lends it a home-y feel.
BMW is also giving demonstration drives in a new prototype based on the 5 Series sedan. BMW says the car can take over acceleration, braking, and steering on a planned route, allowing drivers to concentrate on other activities. It can also park itself all on its own. At the end of the demonstration runs, the vehicle contacts the parking management service at the exhibition center and receives permission for the driver to head into a pre-reserved valet parking area. Once there, a robot greets occupants and directs them where to exit. After everyone has exited, the car will initiate the parking maneuver. Via the Remote 3D view feature, drivers could view where their car is parked on their smartphones. This feature is actually debuting in the new 5 Series sedan.
Not only is BMW showing off its autonomous technology, but it's also demonstrating helpful connectivity features. BMW Connected and the Open Mobility Cloud data management system will optimize your route based on appointments you've entered. BMW is also showing off Microsoft Cortana integration at CES. "If, say, a meal is planned following a scheduled meeting, the voice recognition service can be used to select a suitable restaurant," BMW explains. "The user's previous preferences are compared with the options available in the vicinity of a selected location. If a suitable restaurant is found, Cortana can also be used to reserve a table."