What if your car changed color based on your mood, the weather, or a whim? Well, BMW may be the first to execute such technology with the BMW color-changing concept car.
BMW recently unveiled its latest concept car, the electric midsize sports sedan i Vision Dee also known as the BMW color-changing concept car. And apparently it does just that. Or could do that one day when the technology is perfected.
The “i Vision Dee” concept car is covered in high-tech panels that can change colors on demand.
BMW calls it the first-ever “color-changing” car. But it’s more than that. It’s filled with incredible tech, including a windshield that can double as a screen, producing various levels of augmented reality.
But let’s start with that color-changing capability. The Dee, aka “Digital Emotional Experience,” can change 32 different colors, according to BMW, which unveiled the concept car at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
There are solid exterior colors as well as “mix-and-match capabilities” thanks to the 240 panel segments. It’s a big jump from last year’s version, which could merely alternate between white, gray, and black.
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Despite the fact that the technology behind the Dee’s color-changing capabilities is likely years away from hitting the market, the car shows how far such technology can come in just a year. But for now, the panels can’t meet your day-to-day needs because they have not been perfected to perform in the real world. For instance, you wouldn’t want to drive this car through a car wash or even on a regular road where it could come in contact with bird droppings and bugs.
This photo composite shows some of the color combinations and possibilities of the color-changing BMW i Vision Dee concept car.
It’s a beautiful glimpse into the future of BMW and automotive tech in general.
“This allows an almost infinite variety of patterns to be generated and varied within seconds,” the German automaker said in its press release, which described the light show as a “magical display of color.”
The i Vision Dee’s outer “skin” is actually a film made of electronic paper created by a startup called E Ink.
E Ink also manufactures display tech for e-readers and mobile phones.
According to E Ink: The coating segments on the Dee are made up of millions of tiny microcapsules with different color pigments. Those pigments change shades when electricity is applied. The coating uses very little power so that the changing of the car’s colors won’t drain the electric vehicle’s battery, according to E Ink’s press release.
E Ink noted that it is able to make the panels in any shape imaginable. This could lead to applications such as e-reader screens that can mimic the appearance of actual paper as well as energy-efficient digital signs and smartwatch displays for use in a variety of industries.
The BMW color-changing concept car is also packed with futuristic hardware and software that could be available in BWM consumer cars as early as 2025, according to BMW, though specs for the engine and battery were not unveiled.
The concept car also includes a Mixed Reality Slider, a touchscreen that allows the occupants to control how much digital content is displayed on that dashboard – everything from driving speed to music controls and text messages, according to BMW
BMW says it hopes to develop a spray coating that would help the color-changing panels stand up to that carwash and other environmental factors, according to an article in SlashGear.
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BMW describes the Dee car as filled with technology infused with a human touch, adding:
“It’s a machine whose intelligence is emotional rather than artificial. A vehicle with a voice, facial expressions, and true personality. A car that’s more than a means of transportation, but an ultimate companion. This visionary concept proves minimalism and expression can coexist beautifully. The sleek and streamlined exterior is juxtaposed with digital features that bring Dee’s charming character to life.”
Among its other features, according to BMW: A kidney grille and headlights fuse together to form a sleek digital panel. You can also simply touch one of the four Shy-Tech sensors on the BMW Mixed Reality Slider to project everything from augmented reality scenes to full virtual worlds right onto your windshield.
“Once inside Dee’s cabin, you’ll be greeted by your own personal avatar on the driver’s side windows — it’s just one of the many ways Dee immerses you in digital experiences. She can speak, listen, and understand your wishes. Her voice can even be heard by those outside the vehicle.”
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