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Source: BMW Group Munich. It is still a vision: a vehicle floating gently over the ground, decoupled from any infrastructure and powered by bioenergy obtained from algae. But this vision has already been recognized. The “FLOT” team from the Chinese elite University of Tsinghua excited the critical jury during a pitch and was able to win the #NEXTGen Moving Tomorrow competition in an exciting finale (from November 11th on Chrome here). And rightly so: the hovercraft impresses with its clear focus on sustainability, the most advanced technology and innovative design. The concept not only exceeds the jury’s expectations of sustainable premium mobility, but also fully corresponds to the pioneering spirit of the BMW Group.

The idea of ​​the winning team from Beijing is as simple as it is groundbreaking: It is based on air-cushion technology with which the cockpit hovers gently above the ground – and therefore no longer needs any traffic infrastructure. Even more: the vehicle is powered by bioenergy, which is obtained from algae, and adapts flexibly to the conditions of future megacities. The vehicles can be coupled one behind the other in order to transport several people or, if necessary, they can also be turned to bring the passengers home in a vertical direction – along the green outer walls of gigantic skyscrapers – without traffic jams and changing trains. In addition to the prize money of 15,000 euros, the “FLOT” team will also have the opportunity to discuss their vision at an international level – together with the Board of Management of the BMW Group.

Bringing joy – that was the goal. “With the #NEXTGen Moving Tomorrow call, we have encouraged the next generation of scientists to merge their technological know-how with their vision of sustainable premium mobility in 2040,” said Ilka Horstmeier, Head of Human Resources at BMW AG, on the occasion of the award ceremony. She is enthusiastic about solutions like that of “FLOT”, which not only impress with their originality, but also pursue a holistic approach of sustainability, luxurious design and the needs of the next generation. This is also the verdict of the jury, which in addition to Ilka Horstmeier also includes DLD founder Steffi Czerny and Phineo’s CEO, Dr. Andreas Rickert, were members.

The other two finalists, another team from Tsinghua University and a team from a total of six Fraunhofer institutes also impressed the jury: “It wasn’t just the ideas presented that impressed us, but also the way in which they were developed . We enjoyed an excellent collaboration between interdisciplinary teams, some of which went beyond national borders, ”summarized Horstmeier. “We believe that this is exactly what drives innovation in the future.”

Knowledge transfer and exchange of ideas through university partnerships The BMW Group specifically promotes interdisciplinary knowledge transfer with various international universities in order to develop future-oriented innovations together with talented young professionals. The focus is primarily on research topics such as battery research, data analytics, artificial intelligence, automated driving and additive manufacturing.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Corporate CommunicationsMilena Pighi, BMW Group Corporate Communications and Politics, Spokesperson CSRPhone: + 49-89-382-66563E-mail:

Eckhard Wannieck, Corporate Communications and Politics, Head of Corporate and Cultural Communications, Phone: + 49-89-382-24544, Email:

The BMW Group

With its brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and a provider of premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly sites in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network with representatives in over 140 countries.

In 2019, the BMW Group achieved worldwide sales of more than 2,520,000 automobiles and over 175,000 motorcycles. Earnings before taxes in fiscal year 2018 amounted to € 9.815 billion and sales to € 97.480 billion. As of December 31, 2018, the company employed 134,682 people worldwide.

Long-term thinking and responsible action have always been the basis of the BMW Group’s economic success. The company has firmly anchored ecological and social sustainability along the entire value chain, comprehensive product stewardship and a clear commitment to conserving resources in its strategy.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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