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BMW's CES 2019 pavilion will have real and virtual test drives

Whether you're into X7s or autonomy, there's something for tech aficionados from all walks of life.


When BMW comes to CES, it doesn't have a booth inside the Las Vegas Convention Center -- it sets up shop in a giant outdoor pavilion, because it offers real-world vehicle demos alongside previews of its latest tech. As expected, the story stays the same for CES 2019.

If you haven't yet seen BMW's Vision iNext concept in person, it'll be on display. Additionally, people will be able to take a "virtual" drive in the concept using VR goggles and a concept designed specifically for it. Folks will also be able to check out the various technologies inside, like the seat fabric that can change the radio volume. No, that's not a typo.

In a more real-world-friendly demonstration, people will also be able to check out BMW's new Intelligent Personal Assistant. It can respond to natural language commands, and even carry on a conversation with the driver. The assistant can also migrate from car to portable smart device, allowing owners to access the assistant away from the vehicle. BMW says this tech will hit its production vehicles starting in March.

That's not all. BMW will also show off its riderless BMW R 1200 GS motorcycle. It's currently in use as a development platform for BMW Motorrad, which wants to figure out how autonomy can be used to improve maneuvering in future bikes. Having only ever seen riderless motorcycles on YouTube, I'm pretty excited to see one balancing and braking in real life.

Finally, there will be an off-road course for the new X7 SUV. Having just made its US auto show debut in Los Angeles, the X7 will haul itself to Las Vegas, where it will showcase its off-the-beaten-path prowess on a purpose-built course.