BMW cars to get major connectivity tech update in international markets

BMW cars to get major connectivity tech update in international markets

6th Jul 2020 7:00 am

This update will bring with it a variety of new features and it will be provided free of cost.

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  • The update will be provided in various international markets, free of cost
  • All BMW cars with Operating System 7 software will be eligible for the update
  • There will be updates to Maps, connectivity features, the voice assistant, user interface and Apple and Android connectivity features, to name a few

BMW will begin rolling out its biggest connected car software update yet next month, bringing a range of new services and features to some of the most popular models in its line-up.

The free update will bring cloud-based navigation to BMW Maps, enable the recently announced Digital Key technology for Apple iPhones, and redesign the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, as well as introduce wireless Android Auto for the first time.

A new eDrive Zone function will also allow plug-in hybrid models to automatically switch into electric driving mode when entering designated 'green zones', with over 80 cities worldwide supported at launch.

Every car launched with the company's Operating System 7 software will be eligible for the update, including the latest 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 on sale in international markets. It will now come pre-installed on those models as they leave the factory, while existing customers in those markets can expect to receive an over-the-air update in the coming months.

BMW Maps will use cloud computing to calculate routes remotely, taking live traffic data into account, and monitor the parking situation at your chosen destination based on the size of your car. It will be able to notify drivers of adverse road conditions or accident black spots based on reports from other connected BMW cars. An on-screen range radius will also be added for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, indicating how far it's possible to travel before needing to recharge – and, if required, BMW Maps will automatically add rapid-charging stations when planning a new route.

Smartphone-based unlocking will only be available on new cars built from July onwards. iPhone owners with the latest version of iOS will then be able to unlock and start their car using only their smartphone, with an option to share access with up to four other users. The holder of the master key may also set speed and horsepower limits before giving inexperienced drivers access. BMW is set to be the first manufacturer to offer the technology, which Apple announced at its annual developer conference earlier this month.

A redesign for the Intelligent Personal Assistant will add more motion to BMW's Siri-like voice interface, with animations that react differently to driver and passenger. A new home screen widget gives the assistant greater presence on the dashboard, and it gains the ability to change driving modes for the first time. A new routines feature lets you automate certain features based on location, so the car could automatically open the driver's window when you reach a parking barrier when driving to work.

The July update will also see the company's ConnectedDrive Store expanded to offer 'test drives' of new features for a month, rather than commit to the one-year, three-year or lifetime purchase currently offered. Presently, cars fitted with the correct hardware can enable high beam assist, active cruise control or adaptive M suspension after the initial purchase, but BMW plans to greatly expand its offering when the iNext electric SUV arrives in 2021. These purchases would be tied to the car, rather than the user, and wouldn't be transferable when a customer trades in for a newer model.

According to BMW, it currently has more than 14 million connected cars in customer hands, which are all capable of sending and receiving live data. The company claims its fleet drives 98.5 percent of the entire German motorway network each day, and detects more than 25 million traffic signs worldwide every 24 hours using machine learning. Data is gathered anonymously, but customers have the option to opt out if they prefer.

Once downloaded, the July update should take around 20 minutes to install.

For the Indian market, BMW has not yet confirmed if and when the update will be available. Although, the carmaker has been busy over the past few months, as it recently launched the 8 Series in India, in both Coupe and Gran Coupe form, along with the next-gen X6 SUV-coupe. It has even introduced a new top-spec M50d version of the X7 SUV recently. 

Also see:

New BMW Facility Next opened in Cuttack

BMW, Mercedes halt joint development of autonomous car tech

BMW India introduces service and repair packages

Vikram Pawah appointed president of BMW Group India

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