WATCH: BMW brings augmented reality to the road with XReal Air2 glasses

Published Jan 9, 2024


Whether you’re a hardcore tech geek or just an occasional gamer, it’s hard not to get excited by augmented reality (AR) and the possibilities it presents.

And that’s exactly what BMW brought to the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, along with generative AI voice assistance and teleoperated parking.

The German carmaker believes that AR has the potential to enrich your driving experience by embedding things like hazard warnings, parking and navigation instructions, entertainment content and even information on charging stations into the real world environment.

This happens through a set of “XReal Air 2” AR glasses, which CES attendees got to experience in the real world through test drives on the streets of Las Vegas. See how it works in the video below:

BMW says this is the first time its engineers, together with partners such as XReal, have been able to successfully display stable augmented and mixed reality content to passengers in a moving car.

Thanks to a tracking system in the glasses that links to the car’s sensor data, the displayed images remain securely embedded in the environment even in challenging driving situations, the company says.

BMW didn’t mention when such technology might be available to car buyers, nor what legal hurdles it might face in various regions. But its potential certainly seems impressive so far.

“Thanks to the recent research collaborations with Meta Reality Labs and XREAL, we have made considerable progress in our preparations for integrating external XR devices into our driving experience in production models,” said BMW’s Vice President of Research, Peter Lehnert.

“We are proud to be leading the way here and are well prepared to offer our customers breathtaking XR experiences in the future.”

BMW has been working on AR and MR technology since 2008. In recent years it has filed patents for almost 70 inventions from its developers.

Teleoperated valet parking

The carmaker also showed off its teleoperated valet parking system at the CES show. Together with Valeo, BMW is working on fully automated Level 4 automated valet technology.

While this system can work fully autonomously, dropping occupants off and fetching them later, there is also a teleoperated system that allows users to control the vehicle via screens and controls from a remote location. This, they say, could come in handy at events, at airports or in the logistics sector.

As for the technologies that are available here and now, BMW introduced some new ConnectedDrive products at CES.

These included a new gaming experience that allows two players to compete against each other through a split-screen mode on the infotainment system, and using their existing gaming controllers. The vehicle has to be stationary, of course.

In addition the carmaker is offering an expanded range of software for displaying video content on their car’s central display. Here the successful TiVo operating system for smart TVs has been optimised for in-car video streaming to offer both live channels and on-demand media.


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Finally BMW has teamed up with Amazon to develop a voice assistant that uses Axela’s Large Language Model to become the “ultimate vehicle expert”. Though not available to customers just yet, the two firms are aiming to commercialise it.