The innovative technologies in BMW’s latest models

BMW continues to develop technology that makes vehicle safer, easier to use and more efficient

BMW are one of those brands that never rest on their laurels. The brand is always innovating and much of the technology that we take for granted in cars today, first made its appearance in a BMW. Generally, the technology is premiered on higher end models but over time this technology trickles down to their entire model range. Even today BMW are spending millions on research and development of a variety of technologies that aim to make cars safer, easier to use and more efficient. Below are four of their latest innovations.

BMW constructs bespoke light testing facility

The BMW Group has a new light channel at its disposal for testing the headlights and exterior lighting of new models. The new Light Channel Next, is one of the biggest and most modern facilities of its kind in the world and allows designers and developers to analyse and optimize all the components of vehicle lights through precise simulation of different scenarios on real models.

Developers mainly focus their attention on the integration of highly adaptive headlights which guarantee safe illumination as well as fatigue free driving. As well as being an important factor in safety, however the vehicle lights are also a question of aesthetics. Daytime running lights with a striking design are as much a part of the light equipment on current models and the illuminated BMW kidney glow, the distinctive rear lights of the Mini with their Union Jack design or the dynamic light carpet, which adds a lighting effect to the vehicle’s entry area are examples of how light is being used as part of the design process. These innovative lighting designs and individual lighting effects give each model an unmistakable appearance.

Smartphones become vehicle keys

Digital Key Plus is now available for smartphones operating on Android or Apple operating systems and Apple Watch allowing owners to unlock their vehicle with their smartphone. The vehicle reacts automatically when approached or receded in the same way as a classic vehicle key with comfort access functionality. The smartphone with Digital Key Plus replaces the vehicle key with extended functionality made possible using ultra-wideband technology. This is a digital radio technology for close range with high bandwidth, which features very precise localisation with maximum possible security and ensures that the risk of relay attacks where the signal is jammed or intercepted, is virtually eliminated.

BMW Panoramic Vision

The new BMW head-up display, called BMW Panoramic Vision represents the reinterpretation of the BMW driver orientation, eyes on the road, hands on the wheel as it goes into production with the first Neue Klasse models.

This platform sets new standards in digitalisation, sustainability and design for electric cars as the new head-up display, projecting across the entire width of the windscreen, creates a unique interaction and information surface for all occupants.

This technology opens up completely new possibilities for the design of vehicles as drivers can decide which information they want displayed in their field of vision or even allow all occupants to see the entire content. The revolutionary projection and the significantly more clearly structured cockpit give an impressive new feeling of space and driving.

BMW Panoramic Vision shows information that is relevant for the driver and passengers with a higher light intensity and contrast onto a dark-coated area at the lower edge of the windscreen. This creates an extremely sharp image that is always visible across the full width of the windscreen and information relevant to the driving situation is available in the right place at the right time.

BMW Group brings hydrogen cars to the road

BMW have put their iX5 Hydrogen pilot fleet onto the road. The fleet of approximately 100 vehicles will be employed internationally for demonstration and trial purposes allowing industry experts to gain real-world impressions of what the BMW iX5 Hydrogen has to offer.

BMW believe that hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play in the energy transition process and climate protection as it is one of the most efficient ways of storing and transporting renewable energies.

The hydrogen fuel cell utilized in the iX5 is further proof of the BMW Group’s leading development expertise in the field of electric drive technologies and the BMW Group is systematically pushing forward with development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an additional option for locally emission-free individual mobility in the future. The BMW Group produces the highly efficient fuel cell systems for the pilot fleet at its in-house competence centre for hydrogen in Munich. This technology is one of the core elements in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and a generates a continuous output if 125kW.

A chemical reaction takes place in the fuel cell between gaseous hydrogen from the tanks and oxygen from the air and maintaining a steady supply of both elements to the fuel cell’s membrane is of crucial importance. Just like the technological equivalents on combustion engines, the BMW Group has developed special hydrogen components for its new fuel cell system.

In combination with a highly integrated drive unit using fifth-generation BMW Drive technology including the electric motor, transmission and power electronics that are grouped together in a compact housing, at the rear axle and a power battery with lithium-ion technology developed specially for this vehicle, the powertrain channels a maximum output of 295kW onto the road. When coasting and braking, the motor acts as a generator, feeding energy back into the battery.

The hydrogen needed to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700-bar tanks made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Together these hold almost six kilograms of hydrogen, which is enough to give the BMW iX5 Hydrogen a range of 504km. Filling up the hydrogen tanks takes just four minutes, making this drivetrain perfect for travelling long journeys, with just a few short stops along the way.

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