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Who are you and what did you do with BMW? Bimmer brings wacky concepts to LA Auto Show

I thought that BMW was a car company, but the concepts the Bavarians are displaying at the LA Auto Show seem to have other ideas.

Both the BioMINIcry and S.E.E.D. concepts are outlandish in the extreme, being inspired respectively by the LA River and extreme environmental conditions.

For the LA Auto Show BMW designers decided it would appropriate to address the traffic congestion of the vast urban sprawl that is Los Angeles. So what do you think they came up with? Mass transportation? A city car? Nope, it’s the BioMINIcry submarine for use in the LA River!

So why are they trying to wrest control of LA’s ‘waterway’ – that’s dry for most of the year – away from battling Terminators? One gets the sense that the normally dour BMW designers mostly wanted to do it because it would be pretty cool. On that much, we agree.

The BioMINIcry name is a portmanteau of ‘biomimicry’ and “Mini”. It gets this name both for marketing reasons and because the bioluminescent exterior can match its surroundings, you know, like a cuttlefish.  The Bavarian submarine would supposedly use special bacteria and saltwater to create electricity. It even has detachable “Mini” subs, which do … things.

The BioMINIcry concept is nothing but some Photoshop renderings but it is at least cool.

The S.E.E.D. might be even more outlandish, it looks like something you would take to explore Saturn’s moons.

According to BMW you wouldn’t be far wrong, because the S.E.E.D. is supposed to take BMWs where they have never been before: the deep ocean. You know, except for container ship accidents.

This combination of submarine, boat, and robot-walker can do everything from swim to jump, at least in the minds of the BMW designers. It runs on solar energy and can walk on the water by creating webs with its ‘legs.’

All of this might be pie in the sky. But it is part of what makes auto shows and concepts entertaining. Car companies – especially BMW – are normally humorless, dry collections of engineers and business people. So it is always a kick to see these gray-faced experts let their hair down and come up with something wacky.

My best guess is that we never hear about these things again, but, in the meantime, it’s good fun.

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