TechTalk BMW iDrive For 2021_cockpit

Published on March 16th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


BMW All New iDrive For 2021 Unveiled

This new iDrive is a paradigm shift from rotary dial from 20 years ago. 

BMW AG has just unveiled their all new iDrive system and like the rest of the global car manufacturers who have unveiled electric vehicles in recent months, it is another large screen with a multitude of functions which caters primarily to the next generation of buyers. 

Today’s older car buyers might find this new ‘large screen’ distracting and somewhat confusing to operate and gather information. 

Sadly, the new generation of buyers want the same functions sitting in their smartphones to be in their cars and product planners are giving these buyers what they want. 

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The new generation of BMW iDrive takes the interaction between driver and vehicle into a digital future where many areas of life are getting increasingly smart. The new interpretation of BMW’s operating system equips the vehicle to actively engage in its relationship with those on board and, in so doing, serves as a digital, intelligent and proactive partner in any situation. A natural dialogue is created with the aim of precisely tailoring all the functions controlled via BMW iDrive to the driver’s needs and preferences as the situation demands.

Underpinning the unique user experience are the new BMW Operating System 8, a new generation of displays, controls and software, and extremely powerful connectivity and data processing. The new iDrive will be rolled out gradually across all vehicle classes, making its debut later this year in the BMW iX before also featuring in the BMW i4.

The ability of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to adjust to the driver’s individual needs and routines, as well as the situation at hand, makes it – more than ever – a central operating channel of human-machine interaction. The operating system is designed with a clear focus on dialogue-based interaction using natural language and touch operation via the BMW Curved Display. 

And then there is “Great Entrance Moments”, which brings emotionality to the relationship between driver and vehicle even before the driver climbs on board. This new customer experience welcomes the driver and invites them into the vehicle with a thoroughly choreographed routine. During the journey, the new My Modes use an all-encompassing interplay of various functions to conjure special moments from a combination of vehicle characteristics and the interior ambience adapted to the situation at hand.

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The new BMW iDrive constantly processes a large quantity of self-generated data, information available online and data imported from the BMW Group vehicle fleet to implement the driver’s wishes in a context-related way. Paving the way for even greater personalisation is the BMW ID. 

This system recognises repetitive situations, learns from them and provides suggestions on how functions can be activated accordingly. Remote Software Upgrade allows the new BMW iDrive to benefit from regular over-the-air improvements, integrate additional functions and stay up to date at all times.

Technology and connectivity.

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BMW Operating System 8.

BMW Operating System 8 is the most powerful and extensive technology stack ever created by BMW. It forms the basis for the eighth generation and new interpretation of BMW iDrive. The BMW Group has been developing the central control unit and software integration platform entirely on Linux and in-house since 2013. Having complete control over software is crucial for creating a stable, upgradeable, high-quality system that distinguishes the brand. In the era of fast-paced digital development, it is no longer enough to completely update a model’s digital features every three years.

The arrival of Remote Software Upgrade means the vehicle is now conceived as a digital platform. So, when a new-generation BMW Operating System is launched, the development work is far from finished. Instead, it acts as the basis for ongoing development during the product life cycle. The integrated interaction between hardware and software, the technical possibilities offered by Remote Software Upgrade and the company’s agile development processes underpin its ability to make new functions accessible to the customer in a matter of a few months or even weeks.

Always up to date: Remote Software Upgrade.

Since the introduction of BMW Operating System 7 in 2018, BMW drivers have been able to keep their vehicle up to date with the latest software at all times by means of the Remote Software Upgrade facility. The new BMW Operating System 8 offers the same functionality with some important enhancements. Consequently, Remote Software Upgrade for BMW Operating System 8 will also offer the possibility of performing extremely complex and large software updates in areas such as driving assistance and partial automation. BMW Operating System 8 will additionally allow customers to schedule the installation of a Remote Software Upgrade.

The BMW Group is one of the key players in the field of over-the-air function upgrades. By 2020 it was already carrying out the largest upgrade campaigns of any European carmaker. And the BMW Group has set itself the goal of having the largest over-the-air upgradeable fleet of any manufacturer in the world by the end of 2021. By that time, a total of over 2.5 million vehicles from the BMW brand will be able to receive Remote Software Upgrades.

BMW Digital Key Plus with ultra-wideband radio technology.

BMW has been pioneering the use of smartphones as digital vehicle keys since 2018. For instance, the premium carmaker has developed a new, convenient and secure way of unlocking and starting the vehicle without the user even having to take their Apple iPhone out of their pocket. The upcoming BMW Digital Key Plus version is based on the ultra-wideband (UWB) technology already integrated into the vehicle and, for example, the iPhone’s U1 chip.

UWB is a digital radio technology for short-range high-bandwidth applications that offers exceptionally precise location identification combined with maximum security. The BMW Digital Key Plus will be first introduced for the all-electric BMW iX.

More apps, greater diversity: optimised third-party integration.

The new-generation BMW iDrive offers new opportunities for seamlessly incorporating customers’ habits and preferences into the operating system. The system’s higher degree of flexibility will additionally make in-car use of third-party apps even simpler and more convenient in future. BMW Operating System 8 again ensures full integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the new BMW iDrive will also enable extensive integration of the Alibaba and Tencent services for customers in China.

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