Mini concept car is configured with a token

Mini concept car is configured with a token

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

BMW has shown a concept version of an electric Mini car that is programmed with a token.

The MINI Vision Urbanaut has the MINI Token as the centrepiece. This is a roughly the same size as a worry stone and activates the three preconfigured Mini formats – Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe – when placed in purpose-designed slots in the table at the centre of the car.

This changes the interior geometry, including the seats, the form of the dashboard/daybed and the backrest positions and the circular instrument display also changes. It also sets particular smells, sounds and ambient lighting.

The token can be programmed to provide another kind of personalised experience, in which the user can configure their own preferred scenario of fragrance, ambient lighting, music, etc. and call it up directly at a later time. 

“The MINI brand has always stood for ‘Clever Use of Space’. In the MINI Vision Urbanaut, we extend private space far into the public realm, creating completely new and enriching experiences,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.  

Augmented reality was used to create a digital model, which was then systematically optimised. Unusually tall for a MINI, but only 4.46 m in length, the MINI Vision Urbanaut provides an interior space that can be used in many different ways and offers a whole new ease of movement inside the car.

Electric drive system and automated driving functions also create new ways to use the interior.
Having been conceived from the outset as an electrically powered vehicle with automated driving functions, the MINI Vision Urbanaut gives more options for the interior design based around a flexible four-seat layout.

The two front seats are designed to rotate, while the backrests for the generously sized seat surface in the rear can be folded manually (left rear seat) and turned around (right rear seat). When the car is stationary, the dashboard lowers and the driver’s area becomes a comfortable seating corner – the “daybed”. Added to which, the windscreen can be opened upwards when stationary to create a kind of Street Balcony. This enhances interaction with the car’s surroundings and creates an even more generous spatial experience.  

“In 1959, the very first Mini ushered in a small-scale revolution in vehicle construction with its transversely mounted engine,” said Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. “With the MINI Vision Urbanaut we have been able to rethink and increase the usable surface area inside the car even further in relation to its footprint.”

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