At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020, the BMW Group presented its visionary approaches to creating the mobility experience of the future.

The premium carmaker’s presence at CES 2020 can be summed up by the hashtag #ChangeYourPerspective. At its heart is the company’s firm belief in its ability to not only understand the requirements of future mobility but also find answers to them.

The BMW Group stand showcases this change in perspective, while experiences and practical demonstrations anchor it in reality for the visitors from all over the world.

A highlight of this year’s CES: the BMW i3 Urban Suite.

For seven years, the BMW i3 has played the role of iconic ambassador for electric driving pleasure, sustainability and intelligent connectivity in urban areas. These qualities have helped to make it the world’s best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment.

And now the BMW Group has brought the BMW i3 Urban Suite to this year’s CES in Las Vegas to reveal a mobility experience tailored entirely to the passenger’s individual needs.

To achieve this, a standard BMW i3 underwent a complete transformation (with only the driver’s seat and dashboard left untouched) so that its interior now has the relaxed feel of a boutique hotel. The aim was to create an inviting space with a high feel-good factor in which to spend time – the perfect place for relaxing, enjoying in-car entertainment or focusing on work in a laid-back setting.

This has been achieved by including, among other things, a large, comfortable seat with footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner and a personal Sound Zone.

The BMW i3 Urban Suite also represents a logical step forward in the BMW Group’s commitment to sustainable mobility. The vehicle is underpinned by a holistic approach to making responsible use of resources, encompassing the powertrain with zero local emissions, the careful selection of materials and the production processes involved. Fabrics containing recycled materials therefore come together with certified wood and olive-tanned leather, while the floor mats are made from recyclable materials that can be fed back into the materials cycle, as per circular economy principles.

In preparation for the CES, a fleet of standard BMW i3 cars were converted into Urban Suites in Munich then brought to Las Vegas, where they can also be seen gracing the city’s streets. Indeed, anyone wishing to be chauffeur-driven to their desired destination can use a special app to order one of the BMW i3 Urban Suites.

The car will offer its passenger a first-hand experience of the BMW Group’s innovative and sustainable mobility concept, while clearly demonstrating that luxury travel in the future will have nothing to do with vehicle size.


5G – The future of connectivity.

The BMW Group has always met the challenges of digitalisation head-on – and has been instrumental in shaping and driving forward its implementation and ongoing development in the automotive sector. The premium carmaker has likewise been quick to embrace 5G technology, adhering to the maxim “act like a start-up – deliver like a grown-up” wholeheartedly in the process. The new mobile standard is set to catapult mobile networks into a whole new dimension, courtesy of bandwidth 10 to 100 times greater than that of current standards and minimal latency. 5G paves the way to unprecedented levels of connectivity and high-speed data exchange, which will be a key driver for industry as a whole. Its primary benefit in the automotive sector will be to greatly speed up the development and rollout of autonomous driving – or even make it possible in some instances.

5G in the new BMW iNext.

The BMW Group has been breaking new ground for some time now with the implementation and integration of 5G-capable applications in its models. When the first examples of the BMW iNext make their debut in mid-2021, 5G technology will be present and correct. This will make the BMW Group the world’s first premium carmaker to offer the new mobile technology in one of its models. The introduction of 5G into other model ranges will commence soon after, although integration will vary according to the specific model and configuration. The BMW iNext’s built-in SIM card will be used to provide 5G capability, meaning customers will benefit from the new technology in their car even if they don’t have a 5G smartphone. The new generation of 5G telematics componentry is under development as part of a collaboration with HARMAN Samsung, with the BMW Group responsible for its integration into the vehicle’s new electrical system architecture.

5G: a building block and key milestone in the future of mobility.

5G technologies are a prerequisite for autonomous driving (from Level 3 upwards) – and, by extension, for vehicles with this capability, such as the BMW iNext. The increasing number of highly complex features in a vehicle, including driving assistance and semi-automated driving functions, fuels corresponding growth in the quantity of data that has to be both processed in the vehicle itself in real time and shared with the backend.

To make safety-related vehicle functions work in a model like the BMW iNEXT, the following three boxes at least must be ticked: low latency, guaranteed network coverage and an allotted minimum data rate for specific applications. This is all made possible by the arrival of 5G technology. It means the new generation of telematics componentry developed by the BMW Group in partnership with HARMAN Samsung is also the first to support the high-precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Not only is vehicle geolocation more accurate and reliable as a result, it also complies with the statutory requirements (automotive safety integrity level B in accordance with ISO 26262).

GNSS is also essential when it comes to incorporating semi-automated driving functions, such as those set to be offered in the BMW iNEXT. The telematics components will be modular in composition, providing the extra flexibility in terms of hardware and software the BMW Group needs to make the vehicle a viable proposition for many years to come, even though innovation cycles are getting shorter all the time.

Using 5G offers an insight into what the future holds for customers in terms of entertainment and comfort functions. Exclusive video content can be enjoyed in high quality at resolutions up to 4K. The same is true for video conferences, which require both high data speeds and low latency. However, the biggest winners with 5G are applications it has so far been virtually impossible to stream in real time from a car. For example, cloud-based gaming now becomes an attractive in-car application thanks to zero-delay streaming.

A quantum leap for road safety.

The BMW Group does not wish to restrict the groundbreaking implementation of 5G technology and its possible applications to its own models. The premium carmaker has already declared its intention to make our roads safer and more efficient for all road users with the help of 5G. On 1 July 2019, the BMW Group became the first carmaker to make its anonymised safety-related traffic data universally available for non-commercial use.

“When it comes to road safety, there are no competitors, only partners,” explains Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics BMW Group. “By sharing traffic data and implementing C-V2X vehicle connectivity, we can directly improve safety for road users everywhere.”

(C-V2X standing for Cellular Vehicular to Everything). This is because creating Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and putting them into practice requires two types of high-speed connectivity. Firstly, safety-related traffic data has to be made available to all of a transport system’s active parties via a neutral server platform. This must be guaranteed across the industry and manufacturers, and be shared with traffic associations and relevant authorities. Secondly, all road users need to be interconnected. This is the only way to ensure they can communicate with one another directly (peer-to-peer) and in real time without having to rely on a mobile network connection.

The BMW Group has teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies at the CES to stage a live demonstration. The purpose of the demonstration is to show the enormous potential of C-V2X, in the future, to address a critical, yet less protected segment of the road population, the vulnerable road users, and to make a significant impact in reducing pedestrian accidents In the future. C-V2X technologies and platforms may be well suited to cover other vulnerable road users such as cyclists, e-scooters and motorbikes, and those already being taken advantage of by the road transportation ecosystem.