REVIEW. BMW i MEETS ZORA.

OSTEND, BELGIUM.

Forty-six BMW i Pure Impulse members travelled to the Belgian resort town of Ostend for an innovative behind-the-scenes experience.

The guests from Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK and Belgium arrived at the Zora Bots headquarters where they were greeted with a small buffet of drinks, sandwiches and a hot soup to warm up on what was a chilly and slightly damp morning.

To kick off the tour, Zora Bots co-founders Tommy Deblieck and Fabrice Goffin – who is himself an enthusiastic BMW i8 owner and BMW i Pure Impulse member – gave a presentation with fascinating insights into the history of robotic technologies and the beginnings of the company.

Guests were then introduced to humanoid robot Zora, who arrived in a mini BMW i8 Roadster, much to the delight of attendees. After meeting with Zora, members were taken on an insider tour of the company’s facilities during which they learned about the different robots the team works on, including Pepper, a robot they would later on meet again at their guest hotel as a “staff member” who gives hotel guests directions and helps with check-in.

A highlight for attendees, especially younger ones, was being able to programme their own Zora robot during the tour.

The group then made their way to the Hotel Andromeda for check-in before heading to the Mercator ship. The former expedition and training ship went on worldwide expeditions until it made its final voyage in 1960 and became a museum a year later. Guests mingled over champagne and oysters and, as a special guest, Ostend’s mayor Johan Vande Lanotte attended the reception.

Last on the day’s agenda was a dinner created by a private chef on the top floor of De Grote Post, the town’s former post office building which has been transformed into a cultural centre.

Many guests ended the evening over a nightcap at the hotel, before the group left Ostend the next morning after breakfast, having enjoyed another great BMW i Pure Impulse event.