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Car and Driver: This BMW i8 Spyder Won’t Be Built, But Its Tech Is Undeniably Cool

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-Okay, so BMW isn’t launching a roadster version of its i8 hybrid sports car. What we see here is a prototype shown at the Consumer Electronics Show that gives insight into something perhaps even more exciting: A new user interface called “Air Touch.” It builds on and then takes massive leaps beyond the “Gesture Control” featured launched with the current 7-series.

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While “Gesture Control” merely recognizes finger movements, “Air Touch” uses several sensors to monitor movements of the entire hand, including motions in depth. It’s like a touch screen in free space; the movements of the driver’s right hand can be confirmed with a steering-wheel-mounted button and are mirrored on a large screen. The passenger can operate the system as well, and they have their own confirmation button. The i8 concept is autonomous, of course, although operators can choose between a fully human-controlled mode, one that layers on the intervention of assistance systems, and fully autonomous driving.

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Why put all of this into an i8 Spyder that will never be built, one dubbed “BMW i Vision Future Interaction”? Simply because the concept already existed, and because it is so much easier to see and demonstrate the technology using a car with no roof. BMW enjoyed hearing the speculation about production for an i8 convertible, but an insider told us—somewhat cryptically—that they “have other priorities with the i8.” We hope this means the more-powerful, sportier version we’ve been hearing about for more than a year. (Of course, we’re not sure why BMW’s CEO said a roadster was coming, but that’s a question for another day.)

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The i Vision Future Interaction is just one of BMW’s impressive array of concept technologies shown at this year’s CES. BMW’s “Internet of Things” technology connects the car closely to smartphones and -watches, as well as electronically controlled homes, including a “Mobility Mirror.” “Remote 3D” turns the car into a surveillance device, filming its surroundings and uploading them to the user. And the cameras are triggered when the car gets damaged or someone tries to break into it. “BMW Connected” analyzes the user’s habits and predicts their personal routes and preferences with increasing accuracy. There’s an i8 fitted with a plethora of cameras in place of mirrors, as well as “Connected Ride” motorcycle tech that includes a helmet with a built-in head-up display and a K1600GTL bike with laser headlamps. Finally, BMW is once again showing off a street lamp that serves as a charging device for electric vehicles like the i3, or plug-in hybrids like the i8.

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2016 Consumer Electronics Show

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i have seen the regular one in person already. but this roadster is badass!

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I saw a regular i8 do what BMW's do best.... breakdown :lol: 

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:lol: 

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