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BMW demos consumer electronics integration – with a scooter

September 23, 2010 | Christoph Hammerschmidt | 222901099
BMW demos consumer electronics integration – with a scooter At the Paris Motor Show, BMW will demo a concept study of an electrically driven scooter. But not so much the electric drive will likely attract mostly young customers but the degree of integrating consumer electronics into the vehicle.

With the MINI Scooter E Concept, BMW continues to follow the highly individualized approach it has implemented in the zeitgeisty MINI subcompact. In the MINI scooter, the central dashboard element is a circular instrument cluster which provides a snap-in mechanism for a smartphone. The integration between smartphone and vehicle is rather tight: The mobile phone takes the function of the ignition key – no smartphone, no ride. 

Image: The smartphone becomes integral part of vehicle electronics in BMW's MINI Scooter concept study.

The smartphone also functions as display for most vehicle functions including navigation. At the same time, tit takes the part of an infotainment system, with music player and internet radio implemented as smartphone apps. Via Bluetooth, the smartphone communicates with the driver's helmet which in turn integrates headphones and a microphone.

Since the concept study intensively makes use of apps, it also shows the possibilities if of internet-based services such as Google Maps and social networks – it indicates the location of near-by Facebook (or Linked-in etc) friends on the smartphone display. So far this is not very innovative; millions of internet users do this already. But the scooter goes one step further: It automatically blinks with the high beam when it identifies such a friend in the oncoming traffic.

The smartphone used in the concept study is, no surprise, an Apple iPhone. BMW already offers far-reaching integration options for this device in car models currently in production. Nevertheless, a company spokesperson pointed out that the two-wheeler is only a concept study, “something designed to show what is possible”. He added that BMW by no means intends to prefer specific smartphone makes or brands.

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