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CES: BMW i Vision Future Interaction concept

BMW\'s newest concept sheds insight into what the sports car of tomorrow might look like.

BMW has introduced a new concept car called i Vision Future Interaction at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's currently taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The i Vision Future Interaction is based on the i8 Concept Spyder that was shown at the 2012 edition of the Beijing Motor Show, but designers have removed both doors. It's billed as a highly-futuristic roadster that sheds insight into what the sports car of tomorrow might look like.

The convertible offers three driving modes called Pure Drive, Assist, and Auto, respectively. In Pure Drive mode, the concept is an open-top sports car that's piloted by the driver. In Assist mode, the driver has complete control of the concept but a host of electronic driving aids kick in if they detect that a collision is imminent. For example, the car can autonomously steer itself around obstacles in the road.

Finally, in Auto mode the concept drives itself so that the driver can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The steering wheel retracts by a few inches to give the driver extra space, and the concept-specific seats automatically provide less bolstering to give the occupants more freedom to move.

The i Vision Future Interaction also demonstrates the next generation of the gesture-controlled in-car tech that BMW introduced earlier this year on the new 7 Series. Called AirTouch, it uses sensors built into the dashboard to activate a 21-inch panoramic display in mere seconds. The passengers can navigate the display using hand gestures and motions, and they can confirm an action by hitting AirTouch buttons concealed on the steering wheel and on the passenger-side door panel.

This setup makes it possible for both front passengers to navigate the infotainment system with ease. The software also reduces the number of steps needed to make a selection (such as make a phone call) by recognizing what actions the user might take next and displaying them on the screen.

While the door-less i8 won't reach production as-is for obvious safety reasons, an i8 Spyder is believed to be right around the corner, and the AirTouch technology will likely debut on a regular-production BMW in the coming years.

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