As the world gathers in Las Vegas to see the latest from the world of technology at the 2015 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, BMW is bringing in quite the range of innovations this year. Though the list includes a myriad of innovations and technology, here's what intrigued us the most:
a. Key Fob with Display: The new avant-garde key fob for the BMW i8 plug-in-hybrid gets a display. Its modern design includes a 3D glass surface and aluminium clasps to complement the key fob's functionality. In addition to performing the standard functions of a remote key, this one also displays the vehicle status on a 2.2-inch LCD screen, including fuel level, or the battery electric range among other things. Swiping the touchscreen opens up sub-menus, which show if the doors and windows are locked or if a service is due.
It is important to understand that the data is transmitted to the key fob via the same radio signal used to lock/ unlock the vehicle. Hence, the information can be updated only if the vehicle is within radio range of the key.
It will be available as an option for the BMW i8 from autumn 2015.
The key functions can be used for at least three months without charging. Also, it can be recharged inside the vehicle by placing it in a special charging tray, or by using the micro USB port.
b. Vehicle Automation: BMW's latest safety relevant endeavour - 360-degree collision avoidance - is a the next step towards accident-free personal mobility in both driver-operated and fully automated, driverless vehicles. It is based on precise position and environment sensing.
4 highly advanced laser scanners monitor the surroundings of the vehicle to identify obstacles. Upon detection, an audible signal warns the driver in a potential collision situation. If the driver still fails to remedy the situation, for example if the vehicle is approaching a wall or pillar too quickly, automatic braking can be initiated. If the driver steers away from the obstacle or reverses direction, braking is automatically interrupted.
The other feature under vehicle automation is the fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant in the BMW i3 research vehicle. It combines information obtained by on-board laser scanners with the digital plan of a building. When the driver activates the fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant, using his/her smartwatch, the vehicle is driven autonomously to a parking space.
The fully automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant and its sensors accurately detect not only the physical features of the building but also any unexpected obstacles. When the BMW i3 reaches its final parking position, it parks and automatically locks itself.
c. Inductive Charging: Inductive charging involves charging an electric vehicle's battery via a magnetic field, thus eliminating the need of a hard-wired connection between the vehicle and the power source.
The system comprises a primary and a secondary coil; while the primary coil is fitted in a base pad underneath the vehicle, for example on or embedded in the garage floor. The secondary coil is integrated in the underside of the BMW i8. As soon as the vehicle is positioned over the base pad and the charging process begins, an alternating magnetic field is generated which transmits electricity between the coils.
The BMW i8's battery can be fully recharged in less than 2 hours via inductive charging - which is approximately the same amount of time required with a wired connection.