BMW on Sunday showcased its Mini Augmented Vision technology at the Shanghai auto show and gave a demonstration in San Francisco. A set of prototype glasses paired with Mini, will offer drivers a heads-up look at the directions, detecting obstacles, hands-free texting and music control.
The technology utilizes cameras on the car’s exterior, giving drivers an X-ray vision, to see through the car, in case of an obstruction on the road. The high-tech glass is similar to an oversized Aviator glass, and is connected to the car system. The frames include technology included in the modern smartphone like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS sensors, a Qualcomm processor and Android operating system.
“We tried to keep the user interface, very minimal to not distract the driver,” said Robert Ritcher, advanced technology engineer at BMW’s US technology office.
Ritcher added that the information was needed to be presented at the right time, and safety was their primary goal. At the demo in San Francisco, the tech was similar to a concept car though the official stage of rollout out is yet to be announced. BMW is focussing more on driver safety and technologies, unlike other car manufacturers, who are in the race for developing autonomous cars.
“MINI Augmented Vision gives an insight into how intelligent connectivity between a MINI car and eyewear into which relevant content is projected might work in the future,” explains Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project-manager MINI Augmented Vision, BMW Group research and technology. “Working with several Qualcomm companies, we have created an interlinked system and augmented reality eyewear with a characteristic MINI design that revolutionize the experience both in and outside the vehicle. This prototype with its customized, interactive functions succeeds in fusing augmented reality with the brand’s trademark sense of lifestyle.”
The Mini Augmented Vision technology is being tested at BMW’s Silicon Valley lab in San Francisco. Qualcomm’s Vuforia technology used for the program, is also widely used in smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm Vice President Jay Wright mentioned that the device will be lighter and comfortable in the future. The device is set to arrive faster than you think, he added.
Manager of Mini’s product planning did not reveal the timeline for production of the technology. Wright stated that previous version of augmented reality (referring to Google Glass) did not solve a problem and were left something to be desired on the fashion front. Wright hopes that the technology will be a turning point in delivering consumer apps.
BMW MINI Augmented Reality Glass Image Gallery: