For decades, drivers have had to balance their attention between the dashboard and the view through their vehicles’ windshields to maintain a steady driving speed, check their mileage, and more. This has been the case for so long that most of us don’t even think about it; those tiny glances between the dash and the landscape above occur naturally. But on the road, a split second can mean the difference between a safe journey and disaster.
The small head-up displays found in some of today’s cars alleviate this to an extent. BMW is expanding on the concept with “Panoramic Vision,” a new kind of head-up display reserved solely for its electric vehicles. At BMW’s annual conference Wednesday, chairman of the board Oliver Zipse announced that Panoramic Vision will begin production with the automaker’s forthcoming Neue Klasse models, six of which are slated to release between 2025 and 2027.
BMW’s goal with Panoramic Vision is to make the windshield “a single large display.” Panoramic Vision will cast information such as speed, the time, and which song is playing into the driver’s natural field of vision. Vehicles with Panoramic Vision will have a dark-coated area at the lower edge of the windshield, where bright lights will display high-contrast information for easy viewing.
Drivers will be able to choose which information they see via Panoramic Vision. Among their options are the current speed, gear, time, song, or even the name of the contact trying to call them. BMW also says that drivers can select whether the information they see is available only to them or all vehicle occupants, but it hasn’t elaborated on how that optional exclusivity works.
“The revolutionary projection and the significantly more clearly structured cockpit give an impressive new feeling of space and driving,” said Member of the Board for Development Frank Weber. “We are taking our proven ‘eyes on the road, hands on the wheel’ slogan to a new level.”
BMW’s Neue Klasse EVs are expected to debut with several new features, including an updated iDrive infotainment and communications system. Auto fans are meanwhile awaiting Germany’s annual mobility conference, IAA 2023, where BMW is expected to share more about Neue Klasse’s innovative offerings.