CeBIT News: BMW’s Connected Drive brings unrestricted use of Internet to the car


The car: a mobile multimedia centre

The integration of digital mobile phones, DVD players, USB interfaces for MP3s, Bluetooth for hands-free communication and large screens for infotainment has already brought the car into the digital age.

This year, BMW will introduce an integrated solution to enable drivers and passengers to access the Internet, calling up any random Internet site either by entering the URL address through the iDrive control system or via a personalised list of favourites. This will be available as an optional extra in BMW's production models straight from the factory in the course of 2008.

BMW is also working on dynamic HMI generation and transmission technologies such as wireless USB and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Individualisation and security by biometry

Personalisation options of the ergonomic, control, seat and infotainment functions can already be stored in luxury models by means of the car key.

In order to guarantee independence from the key and ensure the protection of personal data in the future, BMW is conducting intensive research into the possibility of video-based personal identification. This biometric authentication process is based on the existing concept of key personalisation, yet can unequivocally identify and differentiate a number of drivers by their distinctive facial features.

Customised owner's manual on the web

The inexorable increase in the number of functions and the high degree of personalisation offered by cars are pushing the printed manual to its limits.

In order to eliminate footnotes like "only for versions with …" or complex tables with specifications covering all engine variants, BMW is currently working on a more convenient version – a customised web-based owner's manual specifically adapted to the driver's individual vehicle at the time of ordering.

Convenience call

Remote Services enable customers to remotely operate certain functions in their BMW via a phone call to the BMW call centre. Remote functions include door lock, car locate and climate control.

Keeping up with the latest technology

The TeleProgramming research project is investigating ways of offering drivers software updates for their BMW in the future, irrespective of the car's location. It opens up the prospect of the customer's vehicle being brought up to date with technological developments – without the need for a service appointment – throughout the lifecycle of the car.

Another conceivable advantage would be the ability to retrofit an application at any time or to prevent intermittent malfunctions by means of a software update. The car's configuration status, service history and service appointments would also be recorded in detail for the customer to view online.

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