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. It will now come pre-installed on those models as they leave the factory, while existing customers can expect to receive an over-the-air update in the coming months.
“Digital technologies belong to the core of BMW – because hardware and software are of equal importance for premium cars," BMW chairman of the board of management Oliver Zipse said at the announcement, which took place using virtual reality as a result of lockdown restrictions. "Our mission is to integrate advanced digital technologies with highest product excellence to enhance our customers’ experience and driving pleasure even more.”
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.