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BMW Vision ConnectedDrive concept (photos)

The Vision ConnectedDrive may look like a concept for a future sports car, but BMW is actually using it to show off a number of connected car technologies.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Although it looks like a future Z5 roadster, BMW's Vision ConnectedDrive concept is not intended as an example of a new car. Rather, it shows a concept for an interface and networked capability that takes over the car. BMW calls this concept a "mobile component in a networked world."
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BMW's theme for this concept is three levels of interface: safety, infotainment, and comfort. Each of these interface levels is designated by a color. Safety encompasses the driver's engagement with the road, and is indicated by the red lighting effects surrounding the driver's seat. In the previous photo, BMW shows off the blue infotainment level, which surrounds both passenger and driver.
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The green lighting highlights the comfort theme, which denotes technologies at the intersection of car and environment. The green lighting extends out to the mirrors, which are actually antennas.
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As part of the red, safety interface, there is a head-up display, an augmented reality technology that overlays useful information on the view of the road. For example, a route guidance arrow would show over the actual road on which the driver needs to turn. This display can also show virtual speed limit signs even if none are actually posted on the road.
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This panel sits in front of the passenger, and is part of the infotainment interface. It lets the passenger send useful information to the driver, in the role of navigator, for example. The display shown in this picture is what BMW calls the Emotional Browser. According to BMW, "this system captures and filters additional information about the environment through which the vehicle is currently traveling, in terms of people, mood, or location."
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BMW provides few specifications about the car itself, such as the engine. Instead, BMW points out that it uses door components that slide out of view into the body.
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The vehicle's head- and taillights not only provide illumination and serve as markers, but they are also sensors, gathering in road and driving data. BMW says the Vision ConnectedDrive would have car to car communication, along with radar for features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic braking.

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