The world renowned BMW Group turned 100 last year and to mark the importance of these 100 years and BMW’s journey through the years, the company has unveiled several important concepts which encompass the company’s next 100 years.
Like in all other industries, the future and futuristic tech is the center of attention at BMW as well. Futurists at BMW have unveiled the BMW Vision Next 100 which is basically a plan for future goals and tech of the company.
About three decades from now, the world around us will not be the same as we know it. Change has already engulfed us and the world is quickly changing. Futuristic technology is knocking at our doors. Every single organization that wants to have some part in our collective future is slowly and gradually shifting its focus towards products and services that would serve customers many decades from now. The future is already upon us all.
The BMW Group is no exception to this trend. The organization is looking further into the future than ever before and developing a series of ‘Vision Vehicles’ to address people’s mobility needs in about a few decades from now. The designs being showcased in the Vision Next 100 are actually concepts that look forward to the company’s next 100 years.
“A motorbike is an escape from the humdrum of our everyday existence.”
In line with its futuristic concepts is the new BMW motorbike which is nothing like any motorbike we have seen so far. The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 is a concept motorbike that keeps the rider in control in an autonomous world. The head of design at BMW Motorrad, Edgar Heinrich, considers a motorbike an escape from the humdrum of our everyday existence. The futuristic range is being created keeping the future motorist in mind, the kind of environment they’ll live in or drive in, how they would approach the whole concept of riding motorbikes, what this transport would mean to them and many other aspects are kept in consideration while this motorbike was designed.
Let us dig a little deeper into this unprecedented line of future technology:
First Look of BMW’s New Motorbike
At first glance, this is an immensely impressive motorbike. The BMW has certainly created a design masterpiece when they introduced the Motorrad concept.
The bike’s design brings back BMW bikes of the past to mind. A boxer-style engine cover in a naked bike style with outward-facing handle joints are all reminiscent of past designs. The black frame triangle is designed in line with the very first BMW Motorrad motorbike, the R32, built in 1923. However, it has been reinterpreted to form a functional sculpture linking the front and rear wheels all in one piece. Bearings and joints are nowhere to be seen; instead, the frame appears as a single, integrated whole.
This bike has a sleek and slender look. The very design compels you to want to ride it. The front is minimalist in design and enhanced with high-quality details. There is a large metal reflector integrated into the frame above the front wheel holding up the daytime running light. It also acts as a wind deflector and, in combination with the small, integrated windshield, helps to optimize the air flows.
- Safety of the Rider
It comes as no surprise that rider’s safety is at the top of the list of concerns while developing this machine and is the driving force behind its design and technology. Safety concerns are the first and foremost consideration. Assistive systems in the motorbike will keep the riders so safe, they won’t even require a helmet! This means freedom! Freedom to experience the full biking experience in its most raw form.
Intelligent connectivity between rider, bike and the outside world will allow the prediction of critical situations on the road. In conjunction with the active assistance systems, these connected elements will help keep riders in complete control of their ride. This will not only inform the rider about what lies ahead and alert the rider for action, but also offer active protection.
Thanks to the bike’s self-balancing mechanism that keeps the bike upright at all times, the rider’s safety is held supreme. Riding angles can be adjusted according to the expertise and skill level of the rider. Bikers can go at any speed and turn and twist the bike as they like without threatening their own safety and always staying safe.
2. Special Rider’s Gear
Special glasses have been designed and would be available along with the bike which would be needed to be worn during the ride in order to assist the rider. These glasses are called Visor and they would act as a digital companion to the rider, relaying information regarding the route and the situation during the ride that might affect the rider and the ride.
Content is triggered by the rider’s eyes which, when looking up or down, cause it to display different content. Looking straight ahead clears the display so the rider can concentrate on the experience of riding, the exception being when alerts are required.
Another part of the special gear is a suit designed to provide thermal support by adjusting to provide ventilation or heat. The suit’s external design is inspired by the musculature of the human body and bands in the suit can be adjusted by both rider preference and posture to allow for added or loosened support as needed. Riding speeds also adjust the suit. For example, the neck section of the special suit inflates to provide extra support for the upper vertebrae and improve overall comfort.
3. It has a reverse gear, which is not typical of many motorcycles, letting you negotiate city spaces more easily.
Structure of the Bike
The structure of the bike is made up of Flexframe. This is a futuristic, flexible construct that allows the entire one-piece frame to give a full-body steer for the motorbike. When the handlebars are turned to steer the bike, it actually bends the frame rather than just the front wheel!
There are few joints and no visible bolts, screws, springs, or shocks. Damping is controlled by the tires, which feature a futuristic ‘variable tire tread’ that actively adjusts to maximize grip and minimize impacts.
The polished aluminum finish of the engine covers is dynamic, moving outward during use to enhance aerodynamics, and moving in when the bike is at rest for a slim, clean profile. That engine cover is part of the overall Motorrad Vision Next 100’s Flexframe structure.
Body elements such as the seat, upper frame cover and wings are made of carbon.
The power unit is a style feature and also a historical reminder of BMW bikes of yore. The outward appearance of the engine suggests a boxer-style engine. But inside, the Motorrad Vision Next 100 comes with a zero-emissions powertrain.
Examples of zero emission vehicles include muscle-powered vehicles such as bicycles, battery electric vehicles which typically shift emissions to the location where the electricity is generated e.g. coal or natural gas power plant, and fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, which typically shifts emissions to the location where the hydrogen is generated.
Front and Rear Lights
The lights are integrated into the frame of the bike. A U-shaped element at the front of the bike is the daytime running light and wind deflector in one piece. The windshield in the bike serves a dual purpose. It not only protects the rider at high speed but also acts as a heads-up display of information, whenever needed.
Two red, illuminated strips beneath the seat shell are the rear lights and indicators in one piece.
The future of our world will comprise of more digital devices than analog devices. Our life will mostly be about virtual control and allowing robotic machines to do the mundane tasks of everyday living. The BMW Group’s futurists see a future world in which self-driving cars are the norm. But they also understand that biking is all about the experience. If biking is over-ridden by too much digitalization and robotic control, the very experience is killed.
Understanding this fully well, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 provides control to the rider to keep the basic riding experience intact. The digital companion, formed by the combination of the special rider’s gear and the bike itself, stays in the background and lets the rider be in control. This companion only issues alerts when needed otherwise it stays active but silent and lets the rider have a raw riding experience.
With its futuristic technology, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 unites the best of both worlds – digital and analog.