BMW's concept car wows with shape-shifting

IDG News Service | Mar 8, 2016

BMW's latest concept car, timed to its 100-year anniversary, has shape-shifting sides and a steering wheel that folds into the dash.

It’s a fanciful vision of the future of driving — a car that actually changes its shape.

The trademark headlights are gone but with that front grill is unmistakably a BMW.

The German automaker is 100 years old this week, and it’s using the opportunity to do a bit of dreaming about future cars.

And this is a concept - what a future it predicts.

BMW believes most cars will be self-driving in the not too distant future, so this car has a steering wheel that retracts leaving the driver free to do other things.

There’s also a manual mode, that tries to turn drivers into better drivers, by using the windscreen to project the optimal driving line and steering points.

It’s part of an entire augmented reality system that will fill the windscreen in the car of the future. No looking down at a phone in your lap in this car.

The bodywork consists of 800 moving triangles, both inside and outside the car, that communicate to the driver through their movement.

The bodywork completely covers the wheels and that is perhaps the most magnificent part of the entire concept. A system called live geometry involves the bodywork changing shape to accommodate the wheels when the car turns.

The car isn’t coming soon. In fact, it’s probably never coming. Car makers use concepts like this to dream big, and eventually some of the technology makes it way into the production cars on our roads everyday.

It’s one of four cars being unveiled through the year to mark the 100th anniversary of the company. The others will be equally futuristic visions of BMW’s other brands: Mini, Rolls Royce and motorcycles.