In the last few years BMW have been known for the fibre optic iDrive system, a screen in the centre console which not only can see the status of many aspects of the car, but also let you control a great deal of those aspects. This system has had its faults (As all BMW drivers will tell you) but it was still ahead of most of the competition.
Recent BMW’s have been arriving with the new updated versions of iDrive which include connected apps and more integration with our smartphones. This is a great move for the German car company as what we would all like is the API’s to be released so that developers could make their own apps to control/see parts of the car.
Today, BMW announced the updates to ConnectDrive which is a great step in the right direction. Apple’s Siri stepping straight in to control overall voice command and the addition of Samsung’s very own S-Voice, offering the option to Android users. These service will allow the user to dictate messages along with voice commands inside the car while on the move.
Along with this update, we also see a touch pad creeping onto the centre console which can be used instead of the infamous twist controller, this can be used to zoom in and out of maps. A USB connection will also not be required in order to access one’s music library on an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. iAP will make it possible to browse and select music using the BMW controller and screen via a wireless A2DP Bluetooth connection with the same functionality as with USB connection. We also now see updates across Navigation, web access and Real time traffic info, but BMW have said that they are moving towards having automatic collision notifications being as standard, so a call centre will know when an air bag is deployed and where you are.
The other cool update is the amount of 3rd party apps that are being accepted, this includes Pandora, TuneIn and Rhapsody and soon will include Android compatibility for all of you who do not own an iPhone.
Our cars are slowly catching up with the rest of the tech world, but are seriously lagging considering what we can do with most other devices in our lives.
Come on guys, there is so much more potential in these information/entertainment systems, open source them and let developers have a play, then we will see how advanced our cars can really be!