BMW brings digital art to vehicle interiors

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Auto maker BMW says it will become the first manufacturer to bring digital art to its vehicle interiors, working in conjunction with Chinese digital artist Cao Fei.

Dubbed Digital Art Mode, Fei’s work is part of BMW’s My Modes concept, which creates a holistic user experience featuring both a functional and an emotional level, that can be created at the touch of a button or via voice control. This is achieved by the synchronization of parameters such as drive and steering control, mood lighting and sound, as well as the color scheme and graphics on the vehicle display.

The Digital Art Mode offers an additional option for drivers to personalize their driving experience according to their preferences and interests. The feature will be made available on BMW series vehicles in 2022, with selected models available with the Digital Art Mode as a customized optional feature configurated directly ex work, while others can be retrofitted via remote software upgrades integrated into the user interface.

“With the new Digital Art Mode, BMW Cultural Engagement reaches new heights while creating something entirely unique,” said Christoph Grote, SVP, Digital Car, BMW Group, “For the very first time, we are making digital art an integral part of the modern driving experience in a car and use innovative technology to transform mobility into an individual, highly exclusive and emotional experience.”

The artwork available on the curved interior display and created by Cao Fei, represents the continuous change of a globalized and interconnected world and is named “Quantum Garden”, featuring galaxies of visual spaces filled with dots, light beams and nebulae constantly moving toward and away from each other at varying speeds while growing and shrinking again and again.

In her artwork – produced especially for the Digital Art Mode – Cao Fei says she combines reflections on global connections and correlations with the pursuit of a collaborative form of what, in Asian cultures, is often described as the perfect harmony of humankind and nature. The artist herself explained this eternal quest: “The desire to connect is omnipresent. It is about how we can synergize with the world, live with nature and renew our energy.”

“2017 was a spectacular year, a time when humanity embraced the advent of artificial intelligence. During this time, I employed augmented reality to create the 18th BMW Art Car, a car with an aura of its own, enhanced by new technologies. 2021 was a difficult and special year. While humanity was stuck and helpless, the world has been moving determinedly into the metaverse, the age of virtual immersion. This is the very moment when I was once again invited to participate in BMW’s groundbreaking Digital Art Mode,” said Fei.

“My work “Quantum Garden” gives the BMW driver the chance to experience the ever-changing digital landscapes of a multifaceted universe in a screen world, where abstract poetry and sensory pixels intersect. Its network of open-ended spectra are connecting our hearts to the call of goodwill from the depths of the universe.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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