Imagine a future where AR makes your driving experiences safer, more efficient, and more convenient, without taking your attention away from the road.
BMW, one of the market-leaders in luxury driving experiences has been innovating with the development of new and improved immersive experiences for several years now. In 2019, BMW worked with VIVE and ZeroLight to optimize the customer journey, allowing customers to configure, explore, and even sit behind the wheel of a simulated M5.
Now, BMW is working hand-in-hand with leading software company, Basemark, to create an innovative new AR tool for the software industry. Let’s take a closer look at what Basemark and BMW are accomplishing together.
Building AR Opportunities in Modern Cars
Part of staying ahead of the curve in today’s automotive industry is constantly looking for ways to make drivers feel more confident behind the wheel. Though cars and roadways are growing safer, there’s always a risk involved for every driver. Giving your customer peace of mind is one of the most important things a car manufacturer can do.
To this end, BMW has been innovating at a break-neck speed in recent years, looking into countless new and improved ways to aid their drivers. The most recent innovation from the company is an application built in collaboration with the Basemark team. The AR application provides drivers with everything they need for a more comfortable, and secure driving experience.
Basemark, an innovative software development solution based in Helsinki, is no stranger to designing innovative new technologies for major companies. The brand is responsible for the Rocksolid car – the first end-to-end automotive operating system covering all functions for software-defined vehicles.
The new BMW app created by Basemark is specially-designed for the new iX car, and it works by using vehicle sensor data and computer vision technology to show information enhanced by AR on the car’s infotainment screens. According to Basemark and BMW, these new AR applications will help vehicle users to be more aware of their surroundings, and more informed when behind the wheel.
Delivering a Safer, More interactive Experience
The AR application created by Basemark for BMW leverages AR over-video technology. The work has resulted in a leading range of AR applications for electric BMW vehicles, enhanced by intelligent cameras and sensors, throughout the car’s design. Through access to real-time information about the car and its surroundings, the app can show AR-ready information through the Central Information Display when BMW users enable navigation.
With AR, upcoming lane recommendations and turning manoeuvres required to follow a certain route or map can be delivered to the driver directly on the central information display. The front-view camera included in the hardware can directly send live footage into a curved screen with interactive arrows to guide the driver wherever they need to go.
This unique design is intended to create a more immersive navigational experience for BMW drivers, which ensure they can spend less time figuring out when to turn, and more time focusing on the road. The map still remains visible on the screen thanks to split-screen functionality, so if you need to glance at the roads you’re heading towards, you can.
While the use of an AR-enhanced display might not seem like a huge innovation at first glance, it significantly reduces the amount of pressure on drivers to interpret maps in real-time when they’re focusing on a million other thins behind the wheel. Anyone who’s missed a turn-off when dealing with other distractions when driving knows how difficult it can be to follow the guidance of a map on a screen at times.
Enhancing the Parking Experience
The new application with AR enhancements built by Basemark for BMW isn’t just a crucial tool for the navigation process on today’s busy roads. BMW is also implementing features to make it easier for iX drivers to park their cars more effectively too. In urban environments where it can be difficult to find a decent parking spot, the iX app is ready to help.
When accessed through the central information display, the augmented-reality powered application can help guide the driver towards parking spaces available in a location in real-time.
All the while, the same screen will also curate valuable information about the parking location. For instance, you can see how many parking vacancies are available in a lot, what your limitations are regarding the number of hours you can stay, and what the rates look like.
During the actual parking process, the AR system uses the sensors and cameras from throughout the BMW iX to provide drivers with more in-depth spatial awareness during parking. This can allow for a less stressful parking experience, even when you’re dealing with extremely tight spots, or you’re running late for an appointment.
According to the CEO of Basemark, Tero Sarkkinen, the new applications built for the latest BMW vehicle offer an excellent insight into the future of driving technology. These AR-enhanced solutions are setting new standards for driver comfort, experience, and safety. Basemark has leveraged years of automotive software know-how to create tools which simply “work well” every time.
Basemark also worked alongside the BMW Group’s asset creation team during the project, to empower both developers and designers with the tools required to reduce the time spent in development. The Basemark and BMW partnership included support from Basemark for concept exploration, and the development of simulations for concept features.
A New Age of Driving Innovation
The new applications created by Basemark for BMW are an excellent insight into how XR technology can assist the leading automotive manufacturers in the world in creating more immersive experiences for their users.
Elsewhere, other brands are already taking advantage of the possibilities of AR for their own applications and tools. For instance, Infineon Technologies released a MEMs scanner to assist with the development of AR automotive HUDs.
As the automotive marketplace continues to evolve, there’s no doubt we’ll continue to brands like BMW working on innovations with XR technology.