MINI Augmented Vision is designed to enhance the drivers’ role, making the behind-the-wheel experience more enjoyable and even more exciting. The augmented reality technology, integrated and powered by the MINI Connected infotainment platform, enhances the driving experience by seamlessly interconnecting applications inside and outside the vehicle while providing the driver with greater vision and increased safety.
MINI Augmented Vision, fusing mobility/automotive applications with the driver-centric MINI lifestyle in the process, successfully merges the digital world inside and outside of the car with the physical driving experience.
“Our research consistently shows the number-one reason people buy a MINI is because they are fun to drive, so when creating this new technology we didn’t want to take anything away from that experience,” said Patrick McKenna, Head of Product Planning and Events, MINI USA. “Instead, the MINI Augmented Vision works in sync with the MINI Connected infotainment platform to provide the most hands-on, state-of-the-art visceral driving experience that only MINI can offer.”
MINI Augmented Vision comes to life via an innovative see-through display and MINI inspired eyewear. Similar to MINI’s Head-Up display technology, important driving information is overlaid directly in front of the driver. This information appears in the glasses just above the steering wheel while never impacting the driver’s line of sight, providing a 360-degree field of vision, safety alerts, navigation instructions, and additional convenience functions.
“Increased safety and innovation are always our primary goals when developing new technology,” said Robert Richter, Sr. Advanced Technology Engineer, BMW Group Technology Office. “Incorporating AR technology into the MINI Augmented Vision glasses allows for a wide range of capabilities, such as added visibility when navigating traffic, backing up, or trying to squeeze into a tight parking spot.”
The following functions will be projected into the field of view with MINI Augmented Vision:
- Destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle: Selecting destination points when outside the vehicle, then transferring them to the vehicle.
- First Mile / Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination.
- Head-up display functions: Speed, speed limits etc. in the eyewear so the information is in the driver’s primary field of view, with data always shown above steering wheel so that no road users are concealed from sight.
- Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest: Reality is enhanced by contact-analogue navigation arrows “on” the road, as well as points of interest along the route, such as open parking spaces.
- Messaging: A small icon is shown in the eyewear when a message is received. The SMS/message can be read by the car while driving for safety.
- X-Ray View / transparent vehicle parts: A virtual view through parts of the vehicle (such as A-pillars and doors) serves to render external areas or objects concealed by the car visible.
- Augmented Parking: This facilitates parking by projecting the images from a camera housed in the (farside) mirror into the eyewear. In this way, the distance from the curb can be clearly and easily ascertained.
Inside the vehicle, MINI Augmented Vision is integrated through the MINI Connected infotainment platform and operated using controls in the vehicle, such as the steering-wheel buttons. When outside the vehicle, the AR glasses can be operated with the controls on the right temple, comprising a touchpad on the top and three buttons on the bottom.
When in the vehicle, the driver is even able to control certain functions of the glasses with a simple turn of the head as required. While parking, for example, the glasses will show detailed camera views of the wheels when the driver turns their head in the corresponding direction. Eye-tracking or voice control have not been integrated as yet, but are certainly a feasible option for future applications.
A joint effort from vision to prototype
MINI Augmented Vision took shape in close collaboration with several Qualcomm companies, who provided key hardware and software elements. MINI entrusted the design of the glasses, the color scheme and the digital user experience to BMW Group subsidiary Designworks. The eyewear was also produced with assistance from ODG (Osterhout Design Group), a leading manufacturer of AR eyewear, who provided it's optical and electronic technology and manufacturing support.
BMW Group Research and Technology is responsible for overall project management, development of the application software and vehicle link-up, as well as overall technical implementation.
For more detailed information about MINI Augmented Vision power by MINI Connected, please see the global news release, images and video available for download at www.miniusanews.com.
About MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 122 MINI passenger car dealers in 39 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of seven unique vehicles.
Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at www.miniusanews.com.
Consumer information about MINI products is available via the internet at: www.MINIUSA.com.