Home Technology BMW unveils Dee prototype, “the next level of human-machine interaction” • businessroundups.org

BMW unveils Dee prototype, “the next level of human-machine interaction” • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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BMW unveiled a prototype of the i Vision Dee concept car on Wednesday evening during the automaker’s keynote at CES. The four-door sedan came on stage in bright white, but later changed to a variety of colors and patterns to show off Dee’s E-Ink technology, which allows car owners to configure the car’s exterior with 32 different colors.

While Dee is a concept car, it symbolizes BMW’s next-generation platform, Neue Klasse, which the company says will launch in 2025, starting with a dynamic sedan and sporty activity car.

The reveal included an adorable video of Arnold Schwarzenegger reminiscing about people’s relationship with their cars in the 1980s, while the voice of Dee (which stands for Digital Emotional Experience, by the way) tries to convince the actor/politician that the cars of the future are truly the ultimate companions.

During the keynote, Dee’s voice served to personalize the car and make it more human. At one point, BMW said Dee has a “digital soul, a personality not only with a voice but also with facial expressions.” This point was really made clear by the following quote from the movie “The Terminator”: “The unknown future is rolling towards us. I face it with a sense of hope for the first time, because when a machine, a Terminator, the value can learn from human life, maybe we can too.”

So what is BMW trying to tell us here? Well, Oliver Zipse, BMW’s CEO, went so far as to call Dee “the next level of human-machine interaction, a concept that can’t just be dismissed as science fiction because it will inspire our Neue Klasse.”

Since the “software-defined vehicle” took off, automakers have been looking for new ways to use that software to create a more personalized experience for drivers and passengers. CES always offers a variety of examples. Last year it was all about Amazon Fire streaming coming to vehicles and Google Home integrations, this year seems to be all about in-car gaming. But BMW goes one step further by positing not only an emotional connection between man and car, but also a car that has its own emotions.

I Vision Dee BMW concept car in multiple colours

Dee’s E-Ink exterior means the car can transform into 32 different colors and a variety of patterns. Image Credits: BMW

One way BMW hopes to make that vision a reality is by combining software and hardware development for a seamless digital experience, Zipse said. This idea manifests itself in Dee’s head-up display, with four levels of interaction, which BMW calls the “mixed reality slider”.

Level one contains all the driving and navigation data a driver needs. Level two helps with communication by displaying text messages and calls. Level three brings the features of level one and two and extends the navigation data to your windshield, including collision warnings and highlighted potential obstacles. It also visualizes social media.

Level four goes ‘far beyond reality’. What does that actually mean? We’re not entirely sure, but the talking Dee said you could virtually take all your friends in your car.

“Your friends, your family, even your pets without a single pet hair on the seat, which I absolutely love, in an endless virtual world,” she said (?). “You can play, talk, love, hate. You can even go sightseeing together, right in your car. You wouldn’t believe what fits in your car in the future. It’s like being in your own personal ride at the movie theater. But the movie is your life.”

Of course, this would be likely in a world where the windows can be darkened and the car drives autonomously.

The thing is, though, BMW, like other automakers, is trying to add so much impressive, seamless technology to its vehicles that people are really starting to see their cars as their ultimate companions — friend, living room, personal assistant, and fashion aid all rolled into one. Crazy, isn’t it?

Learn more about CES 2023 on TechCrunch

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