BMW Mini Announces ‘Augmented Vision’

BMW Mini AR 1

When a car maker like BMW makes news in the display world, we expect extra large displays in the dashboard or on the back seat, or even a new head up display with augmented reality function. However, this time BMW has announced a real augmented reality headset.

Source: BMW

The device comes with a very distinctive design, as BMW points out. From a functionality perspective the prototype addresses the potential needs of a future Mini driver by providing:

  • Destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle
  • First Mile/Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination
  • Head-up display functions: Display of speed, speed limits etc.
  • Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest
  • Messaging
  • X-Ray View/transparent vehicle parts
  • Augmented Parking

The headset combines approaches like GPS navigation and head up display in a car with augmented reality headsets like Google Glass. There is something to be said for this idea. So far all hardware was either based on a car-centric system or addressing the personal space, but here BMW is trying to merge both spaces into one system that includes both aspects.

BMW Mini AR 2Source: BMW

The look through mode has been shown by Jaguar, based on a laser projection system. There is also a much higher priced solution for a head mounted display in the F35 fighter jet helmet that allows the pilot to look through the plane. These BMW smartglasses accomplish the same at a much lower cost.

BMW Mini AR 3Source: BMW

No further details about the hardware have been provided, particularly relating to the display and optics technology. There are some buttons and most likely also a voice interface included. BMW did reveal, however, that it was working with several Qualcomm companies. The company also said that the prototype was made by Designworks for Mini. BMW will introduce their augmented reality headset at the Shanghai Autoshow later in April. The remaining question is if BMW will actually start selling the augmented reality headset to the consumer or not. – NH