Mini, one of the most influential British car brands (now owned by BMW), has unveiled its own autonomous car and ride-sharing vision for the future.
In a YouTube video titled “Mini Vision Next 100 – The Shape of Things to Come,” the company shows an autonomous car concept that can recognize riders, change their steering wheel and speed preference, and provide a portal to the internet to view photos and videos.
The button is called The Cooperizer, it is the “heart and mind of the Mini Vision Next 100”, according to the press release. Users can watch friends, family, and “visionaries” experience the Next 100, whatever that means.
In the video, when the rider arrives at his destination the car doors lock automatically behind him. Once the next customer arrives, it recognizes and projects a customized greeting. Mini said that the autonomous vehicle will head back to a service hub to recharge most times, unless a customer is nearby.
This is cool, but…
There are quite a few unanswered questions that Mini and BMW don’t seem willing to answer. The steering wheel is a questionable addition to an autonomous car, especially a ride-sharing vehicle, since regulators wouldn’t want drivers with a license controlling a car.
Mini also hasn’t said whether the Next 100 is an idea or concept, when Mini plans to unveil the car, and the business model. The owner of the Mini brand, BMW, might be looking to launch another autonomous car alongside the iNext in 2021, but that is just speculation for the time being.