Say what you want about their looks, but you can’t deny that BMW makes incredible cars – and it looks like the all-new M2 is no exception too. But as if driving it isn’t already exciting enough, BMW is now presenting a new system, dubbed M Mixed Reality, to let you actually drive the real car in an actual environment. It’s hard to explain, so check out the video below.
We still can’t decide if it’s a good idea to put on a virtual reality (VR) headset while driving an actual, physical moving car yet.
Shown off at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, the M Mixed Reality system integrates gaming elements into actual driving, using a unique “mixed reality” (MR) approach, which blends the natural and actual world with artificial, digital perceptions.
In essence, the VR/MR headset will overlay a virtual racetrack onto your vision while you’re driving the actual physical BMW M2 on an (we hope) empty air field, which allows for more “exciting” elements to your drive such as avoiding obstacles, or collecting virtual coins.
BMW says the M Mixed Reality system takes all movement and rotary axes of the car into account. In other words, the BMW M2 itself becomes the game controller – a very powerful and fast controller at that, with 460 hp and 550 Nm under your right foot.
“Anyone who asks what virtual experiences in the automotive sector might look like in future: That is the answer. People must be able to experience this new feeling — and with M Mixed Reality, we offer them a suitable solution for this, says BMW M CEO, Frank van Meel.
We don’t think BMW is actually planning to ship this system to customers, which is probably a good idea considering it’ll be a legislation nightmare, even if the tech is flawless. Instead, it’s more of a technological showcase for VR and MR applications, which highlights their use of innovative technologies in its vehicles and within the company, driven by people’s wishes and needs, BMW says.
The company is already using mixed reality technologies in many forms of applications, including cross-team development of vehicles, as well as product planning thanks to the completely virtualised iFactory Lydia. By the beginning of next year, the BMW Group will also digitize all production sites using 3D laser scans.