The BMW Groups's view of the future: Transformations and visions.

The BMW Groups's view of the future: Transformations and visions.

07.03.2016: By selecting THE NEXT 100 YEARS as its leitmotif, the BMW Group consciously

By selecting THE NEXT 100 YEARS as its leitmotif, the BMW Group consciously tackled a paradox: the next 100 years cannot be predicted – not by scientists, nor by politicians or economic strategists. However, a number of credible prognoses exist that are based on future projections for a variety of figures and factors.

After a lengthy spell of research, the BMW Group has used them to generate its own vision of tomorrow’s world. The decision was made to concentrate on key questions and megatrends that will impact not only personal mobility but also our day-to-day and business lives.

The BMW Group aims to present as holistic a view as possible of the next two to three decades, based on well-regarded studies from various sources as well as the opinions of renowned futurologists.

By combining its own internal information with evaluations from various research institutes, the BMW Group has created a comprehensive picture of the future and of social transformation and the human needs associated with it. The BMW Group firmly believes that personal mobility is and will remain a fundamental human need.


Burgeoning urbanisation, megacities, globalisation and metropolitan regions. Mobile versatility.

A key characteristic of the transformation that lies ahead is burgeoning urbanisation. Experts estimate that by 2050, more than 75 percent of people in Europe and almost 90 per cent of people in the US will live in cities. At the same time, the requirement for greater individuality will increase.

Already today, owning a vehicle is sometimes not enough to ensure our changing personal needs and mobility requirements are met. Overcrowded roads, a lack of parking spaces and vehicle bans for environmental reasons are just some of the barriers which need to be overcome in urban areas today.

In July of last year, the BMW Group’s Centre of Excellence for Urban Mobility set out to resolve some of these issues, and its team of experts is now working with cities and all the relevant interest groups to develop sustainable concepts for future urban mobility.

People everywhere want to be able to have access to the right mobility solution for any given situation. Car-sharing programmes, such as DriveNow, have entered our cities as new concepts and are already working well. However, it’s only when all the various modes of transport work in concert that people’s needs will genuinely be met.

Changing between different transport options can be time-consuming and highly inconvenient. The multi-modal routing system that debuted in the BMW i3 includes public transport in its recommendations wherever this makes travelling more convenient. Automatic booking and standardised payment systems already offer partial solutions today but have yet to become more closely integrated.

At the same time, people are seeking a higher-quality transport experience. As time becomes increasingly scarce, the period spent getting from A to B will become more and more important; people will want to use their journey time efficiently and safely, for work or to relax, to enjoy new experiences or the company of their companions.

That’s why BMW Group Mobility thinks well beyond the product, extending its reach to include technologies and services for enhanced individual mobility. The BMW Group’s future vision is for mobility to become effortless, available on demand and individually customisable.

 In the years and decades ahead, the BMW Group would like to keep people moving by the best means possible.


Technology and digitalisation. Natural connectivity.

Over the next decade, the automotive industry is going to change more than over the last 30 years. Digitalisation will play a key role in its transformation and, as a driver of innovation, the BMW Group intends to remain at the vanguard of these developments in the automotive industry.

Right now, the company is on the verge of realising automated driving. With it will come a series of technical challenges, but also a major opportunity for revolutionising mobility. In the future, Sheer Driving Pleasure will also be defined as liberating drivers through automation.

BMW Group customers already benefit from a range of partially automated functions today, all of them designed to take the strain out of driving. The new BMW 7 Series, for example, features the Steering Assistant and Lane Departure Warning.

In the next technological step, automated driving will enhance road safety and make travelling even more comfortable and efficient. Automated driving of the kind demonstrated by the BMW i Vision Future Interaction (unveiled at the CES 2016) will play a key role in shaping the future of personal and sustainable mobility.

Another area in which the BMW Group is building on the advantages of digitalisation is production. Here, connectivity between the real and digital worlds offers significant potential in many areas. The aim is to achieve an intelligent, connected production set-up where complex processes can be made even more efficient through the application of IT-supported technologies.


The BMW Group primarily focuses on four key areas of potential:

Automated data capture and analysis, such as digital plant surveys and simulations, enhance process security. The latest 3D plant data make precise planning possible so that new digital systems and structures can be integrated into existing landscapes, for example.

 This, in turn, takes flexibility to a new level.


Smart Logistics sets out to increase transparency over the supply network and optimise supply chains.

Innovative automation systems support employees directly as they carry out their work in production. Flexibly usable robots, for example, can work alongside humans to assist with physically demanding tasks.

Additive manufacturing, also referred to as 3D printing, is bringing new solutions to production. As well as opening up considerably more scope for a greater variety of forms, additive manufacturing allows components to be produced quickly and in suitable quality.

 Currently, a classic example of additive manufacturing in use is the production of customised parts in small batches. The BMW Group believes this production method has great potential for series production and realising new customer services – for example through the customisation of vehicle components and the provision of spare parts.

Over the longer term, these changes will also impact the role of humans in production. In the years and decades ahead, people will become creators and enablers of processes, even more than they are today, and their contributions will continue to modernise the working world in which they operate.



Efficient energy for the environment.

Low-impact energy use is a fundamental value of the BMW Group. For more than 15 years, the company has been the Sustainability Leader of the automotive industry in the RobecoSAM sustainability ranking.

The BMW Group is well aware of its responsibility – and has been since 1973. Back then, BMW was the first automotive producer in the world to instate an Environment Officer. Moreover, since 1990, the company has cut the emissions of its vehicle fleet by 40 percent – due to the application of EfficientDynamics technologies, launched in 2007.

By transitioning from combustion to all-electric power and running vehicles such as the BMW i3 and the BMW Motorrad C evolution Scooter, the BMW Group is creating completely new and groundbreaking ways of experiencing driving pleasure, sustainability and interconnectivity in urban settings.

Gaining a true picture of the ecological footprint of any vehicle means taking into account its entire lifecycle, not just its active lifespan. Consequently, efficient concepts all along the value chain are essential.

One such concept is intelligent energy data management, which is already used at the plants in Spartanburg, Leipzig and Regensburg. It is based on a series of intelligent electricity meters that monitor the amount of energy consumed by production systems and robots, and compare findings with figures in a central company network.

As well as reducing the amount of energy used, intelligent energy data management increases production security and enhances product quality. The system was developed as part of the BMW Group’s digitalisation concept and received support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Another key factor in reducing the environmental impact of vehicle production is the use of energy from renewable sources, such as wind and water. Already, around 58 percent of electricity purchased by the BMW Group comes from renewable sources. The plant at Moses Lake, for example, uses hydro-power; Leipzig uses wind power, and Rosslyn uses biomass.

Another way of saving resources is by using renewable materials and recyclates. Key examples at the BMW Group include olive oil-tanned leather, kenaf and the use of PET recyclate in seat covers. By the year 2020, the BMW Group aims to cut its consumption of energy, water, waste and solvents per vehicle produced by 45 percent.


- Benjamin Voss - photos BMW


07.03.2016 / MaP

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