BMW ConnectedDrive 2012.
1. BMW ConnectedDrive a new milestone in networked mobility.
BMW ConnectedDrive has been setting the pace in the field of
automotive connectivity for many years now, and is renowned for
forward-looking in-car concepts and technologies that maximise
customer benefit. The new functions mark another milestone in the BMW
ConnectedDrive success story and once again demonstrate how the BMW
Group is striving to retain its status as the leading innovator in
The new generation of the BMW Navigation system Professional
boasts more powerful and impressive performance than ever, featuring a
design rendered entirely in 3D, a modified display and control concept
as well as a host of extra Navigation, Office and Multimedia
Dictation function with full speech recognition system: for the
first time, the driver is able to compose short texts for emails and
SMS messages while driving by simply dictating them. Meanwhile, the
function for recording voice memos then sending them by email ensures
that any flashes of inspiration at the wheel can be instantly
BMW iDrive Touch Controller: following the addition of a
multi-touch touchpad, not only does the Controller allow characters to
be entered with the finger, it lets drivers navigate in maps and
websites or magnify them.
Product debut: the BMW LTE Car Hotspot ushers in the next
generation of mobile internet. This particular accessory makes the
BMW Group the first car manufacturer to bring the ultimate in
high-speed mobile internet to the road and, what's more, for every
Integration of smartphone applications from third parties: the
BMW Group's Software Development Kit (SDK) facilitates the
integration of third-party apps into the vehicle's native control and
display logic, allowing drivers to use their favourite apps in their
2. The new-generation BMW Navigation system Professional.
2.1 Taking display and control into the third dimension.
It was back in 1994 that BMW became the first carmaker to offer a
built-in navigation system when it made such a system available for
the BMW 7 Series. The functionality of navigation systems from the BMW
Group has increased enormously since that time, so that route guidance
is now just one of a whole array of functions designed to interconnect
driver, vehicle and the outside world as intelligently as possible.
The new generation of the Navigation system Professional is yet
another milestone achievement for the BMW Group.
The new-generation BMW Navigation system Professional instantly makes
a winning impression, boasting a new design and an optimised control
concept that give its various displays an even more sophisticated,
even sharper, even more attractive look. The readouts appear against a
black background in a very reduced layout, and the state-of-the-art
feel is further intensified by an atmospheric lighting effect.
Overall, the new display concept makes the contents even clearer to
read and the functions even easier to use. For the first time, the
individual menus are structured entirely in virtual, three-
dimensional spaces and calculation is performed in real time. Quite
apart from allowing smooth scrolling and browsing, the
high-performance system with a 1.3 GHz processor and dedicated 3D
graphics chip features top-quality animations and dynamic transitions
to make the whole operating experience an immensely enjoyable one.
The previous system's proven menu navigation has been deliberately
retained for the new generation of the BMW Navigation system
Professional, while new functions have been added to enhance the
system's capabilities and enrich the customer experience. For
instance, a new spatial dimension has been added to the way in which
the menu levels are displayed: when sub-menus are selected, they
appear dynamically from the right, while the corresponding top menus
fade into the background on the left, where they are still visible. In
this way, the tactile feedback for the user is accompanied by a direct
visual confirmation of their interaction with the vehicle, information
which furthermore allows them to clearly see their current position
within the menu structure on the display.
2.2 Navigation that breaks new ground.
όBesides the new menu display, the route guidance graphics and
the map views within the navigation function have also been modified
and improved by the addition of various interactive options. The
split-screen portion of the central information display, for example,
now includes new display functions for the navigation mode. While the
driver is still entering the destination by selecting the country,
city and street, the chosen destination additionally appears in the
map view on the split screen for easier orientation. If necessary, the
driver can use a zoom function to change the section of map shown and
check that the selected destination is the intended one.
High Guiding and 3D City Models.
For the purposes of actual route guidance, the familiar guiding
function using arrows in the split screen has now been supplemented by
a High Guiding variant, which clearly flashes up detailed navigation
information in the multifunctional instrument cluster display, the
central information display as well as the Head-Up Display. High
Guiding is automatically activated when the vehicle comes within a
certain range of the next navigation instruction: from a distance of
300 metres outside built-up areas and 150 metres in built-up areas,
the reduced arrow display switches to a detailed bird's-eye
perspective of the surrounding area. The driver furthermore receives
precise directions for changing lane at the right time. As the driver
draws closer to the event, the display gradually shifts from the
bird's-eye map view to an overhead view of the traffic situation for
optimum orientation and guidance. A dynamic display of the vehicle's
present position calculated in real time serves as an aid that allows
drivers to closely track their progress throughout the turn-off
The new navigation view option "3D City Models" features a
realistic depiction of surrounding streets and buildings to help
drivers get their bearings, provided such a visualisation of the city
in question is stored in the vehicle's database.
The extended toolbar putting extra functions at the driver's
In navigation mode, there is now an extended toolbar that, for the
first time, allows the map contents to be customised quickly and
easily without having to exit from the map view. The desired change
takes effect immediately, and the driver is able to effortlessly
switch the view to suit the current situation and the information
required. The moment the driver selects the icon for the extended
toolbar with the iDrive Controller, a second toolbar appears as an
extension of the original icon bar. This can then be used to open
additional selection options in the same view, which were previously
only accessible via Option menus. The settings here allow the user to
call up Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) or weather information,
for instance, to display POIs, or quickly switch from the overhead map
view to the bird's-eye view. Depending on the data required, drivers
are therefore able to activate individual features, quickly find the
necessary information, and then return to their preferred map view.
Interactive map and PIE menu.
The new BMW Navigation system Professional also adds several new
functions to the interactive map view. The iDrive Controller can now
be simply turned to alter the map scale or tilted to move the section
of map in the display, even in a diagonal direction. Another new
feature of the interactive map view is the ability to call up special
functions directly from the map itself. All the driver has to do is
select a point on the interactive map and the PIE menu will open up in
front of the map, providing quick and easy access to a wide range of
actions. Depending on the information stored, the driver just has to
click to show points of interest in the vicinity, view details for
them (where available), start navigation to them, change the map view
or display the current location or destination. And should any
additional data be available for the selected location, such as a
telephone number, website details or an email address, the driver can
retrieve this information with a click too, then visit the homepage,
for example, or write an email. The real beauty here lies in the
system's straightforward, intuitive and quick operation.
RTTI Real Time Traffic Information.
The latest generation of the BMW Navigation system Professional once
again employs RTTI technology for calculating routes and diversions
accurately and reliably by factoring in the real-time traffic
situation for both route guidance and calculation of the arrival time.
By using the 3G mobile network and the vehicle's built-in SIM card,
RTTI offers the benefit of faster data transmission combined with more
extensive coverage. What's more, the new system extends beyond
motorways and major highways to cover country roads and even a large
number of urban routes as well.
2.3 Office functions: Connection of two telephones and new-look
The arrival of the new BMW Navigation system Professional also sees
new functions being added to the BMW ConnectedDrive Mobile Office
portfolio. It is now possible to have two telephones connected to the
vehicle simultaneously, in which case the contact details from both
are combined into a joint contact list for phone calls and emails.
Calendar and contact information is imported in next to no time thanks
to the high-performance hardware, meaning that both telephones are
fully readied for in-vehicle use as quickly as possible.
The calendar from an integrated smartphone is now displayed in an
enhanced, new-look format. Appointments are visualised in the same way
as in popular email programs, while the daily view and calendar
navigation have been further simplified, too.
2.4 Multimedia more music, favourites and extended radio
On the multimedia front, a 20 GB hard drive makes for a far richer
in-car entertainment experience. Meanwhile, the Music collection
search function has been reprogrammed to allow the desired track to be
located for playback even faster than before. The extended toolbar
principle is once again employed for fast access to additional
sub-menu options, as well as even greater simplicity and ease of
New playback functions have been added for a more pleasurable
entertainment experience. If the driver likes the song that's
currently playing, for instance, and would like to hear more of the
same, simply activating the new "More like this" function
generates a new playlist containing similar tracks from the Music
collection. The facility for saving favourites in the Music collection
by clicking on the "Add to favourites" star icon during
playback is another new feature. All favourite tracks can then be
found together by going to the Playlists menu item.
Radio+: seeing what you're hearing.
For the first time, FM radio programmes are accompanied by graphics in
the central information display's player screen, just like digital
radio. Where FM radio stations broadcast the necessary data (via radio
text or radio text+), the artist, album and genre cover will now be
visualised in the same way as they are when listening to DAB radio or
using a top-of-the-range device. And even if no data is transmitted by
the station, a generic genre cover and the station name will be
displayed for a neat, high-quality effect.
BMW Online widgets.
Besides the online functions, widgets can be displayed in split-screen
mode. These miniature versions of the BMW Online browser apps have
been optimised for the split screen, and blend harmoniously into the
high-quality display of the remaining contents. It is initially
planned to include a clock as well as a Panoramio widget, with further
widgets set to follow.
3. BMW iDrive Touch Controller fingertip control at its finest.
The introduction of the BMW iDrive Touch sees the development team at
the BMW Group integrating a touch-sensitive pad into the iDrive
system's central control unit, the iDrive Controller, for the very
first time. Measuring 45 mm across, the multi-touch surface makes
certain in-vehicle control functions more intuitive, faster and easier
Incorporating the touchpad into the iDrive Controller means it is
ergonomically positioned where it is easy to reach: with entry,
selection and confirmation being performed in the usual way using the
control knob's rotate-and-press mechanism, the direct proximity to the
touchpad means there is no need for any fumbling around.
The touch surface will initially be made available for the Chinese
market from July 2012 and will add various convenience-enhancing
functions to the iDrive Controller, including handwriting recognition
as well as navigating in maps. One year later, availability of the
iDrive Touch and these new functions will be extended to almost all
other markets. At this point, a function for surfing the internet is
also due to be added, which will allow the mouse pointer to be
controlled in exactly the same way as on many handheld devices.
The handwriting recognition function enables characters to be entered
with the finger by simply "writing" them on the surface of
the touchpad. Whereas previously this could only be done with the
"Speller" a circular arrangement of letters in the display
by turning the control knob, the touch-sensitive surface now
recognises the letters and the Speller instantly jumps to the right
point of the alphabet. To further reduce driver distraction, a voice
output repeats the character that has been recognised.
The handwriting recognition function is a tremendous boon for the
Chinese market especially, which is why the BMW iDrive Touch
Controller is making its debut there. With several thousand characters
and as many as 21 strokes per character, entering text is a far more
complex task than with the Latin alphabet. The reason the iDrive Touch
Controller is of such great benefit in China is that the sequence of
strokes for starting Chinese characters is basically set in stone,
meaning that the selection of characters is already narrowed down
considerably with the very first stroke entered by the driver. The
choice is further refined with each additional stroke, allowing rapid
selection of the relevant character.
Apart from recognising handwriting, the iDrive Touch also makes it
possible to navigate freely within the route map shown in the display
and zoom in on it, too. The scale is changed using the two-finger
pinch gesture already familiar from many laptops und smartphones. If
there is a traffic jam ahead, for example, the driver can adjust the
scale of the displayed portion of map using the touchpad, move the
view to the hold-up and take a look at the suggested alternative
route. The driver can also use touch control to mark the points of
interest (POIs) stored in the map, then press the control knob to
confirm his choice and display more detailed information. The later
version of the iDrive Touch will furthermore allow the mouse pointer
to be moved across the display while surfing the internet, just like
on a home PC. Pressing the iDrive Controller will then have the same
effect as clicking with the mouse.
4. The BMW LTE Car Hotspot brings ultra-high-speed mobile internet to
the road for the first time.
The BMW LTE Car Hotspot ushers in the next generation of mobile
internet, and will make the BMW Group the first car manufacturer to
bring the high- speed mobile internet experience to the road when it
is launched in November 2012. All that is required apart from the BMW
Car Hotspot is an LTE-capable SIM card, which is inserted into the
hotspot. Once it has been put into service in the vehicle, the adapter
works just like any hotspot, meaning the passengers can enjoy LTE
high-speed internet access on any devices they connect up. The hotspot
additionally comes with a built-in battery pack and antennae, allowing
portable use for up to 30 minutes outside the vehicle without an
external power supply. A standard USB power supply unit even enables
fully autonomous use without the need for either vehicle or battery.
Users connect their device via WiFi to the BMW LTE Car Hotspot, with
its Long Term Evolution technology for going online. Of course, the
adapter also allows multiple devices to be linked up simultaneously,
so that the LTE internet connection can be shared by all passengers.
Meanwhile, the galvanic connection to the vehicle aerial not only
improves reception, it reduces radiation inside the car, too.
The BMW LTE Car Hotspot fits into any BMW centre console with a phone
base plate, and can be retrofitted quite easily without changing the
aerial and without a great deal of installation work. Even older BMW
vehicles can be easily equipped with the latest in mobile internet
technology by adding this accessory.
In areas where LTE is not yet available, the adapter will switch to
the UMTS or GSM network.
LTE high-speed internet.
Streaming music or videos from the internet to a mobile device or to
the vehicle is already a reality today, with the data being
transmitted over the mobile phone network. The bandwidth of the
present UMTS 3G standard is restricted, however, meaning that media
often cannot be streamed in optimum quality. And because sufficient
network coverage isn't available everywhere, not only is video
playback sometimes in low resolution, it is jerky too, while music
streaming is plagued by pauses.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will soon put an end to such
annoyances. Also known as 4G, LTE is one of the fourth-generation
mobile standards, and therefore represents the next generation in
communications technology after GSM (2G) and UMTS/HSPA (3G). What
makes LTE so special is its exceptionally broad bandwidth combined
with very low latency: 3G is currently only able to achieve a
theoretical data transfer rate of 14 Mbit/s, whereas the maximum with
LTE is ten times that. With speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s and latency of
just a few hundredths of a second, LTE paves the way for a mobile
internet experience that matches and in some cases even surpasses
that offered by a home PC with dedicated broadband line.
Coming soon: LTE for the SIM card integrated in the vehicle.
This will also herald benefits for the mobile services already being
offered today under the umbrella of BMW ConnectedDrive, making them
faster, more effective and even more widely available. Server-based
services, such as in-car video and music streaming, will become even
more attractive and easier to use as a result of the high bandwidth
and low latency offered by LTE. By incorporating LTE technology into
its vehicles, the BMW Group is ideally poised for taking the portfolio
of BMW ConnectedDrive in-vehicle services to a whole new level.
After becoming the very first carmaker to offer in-car internet access
with the launch of the BMW Online portal in 2001, this latest move
further underlines the BMW Group's great innovative flair in the
5. Product debut: Message dictation function.
The new generation of the BMW Navigation system Professional adds
various new speech functions to the BMW ConnectedDrive Mobile Office
portfolio, most notably a dictation function that employs a full
speech recognition system to simply transcribe the driver's words. The
dictated text can then be sent by SMS or email. There is furthermore a
voice memo function for making recordings up to two minutes long,
which can then either be sent in an email or archived. Meanwhile, the
new, more intuitive voice control allows virtually all functions of
the BMW Navigation system Professional to be operated more simply,
easily, quickly and, most importantly, safely than ever.
Dictation function writing by speaking.
People are communicating increasingly by email or SMS, both privately
and for business. The BMW Mobile Office functions already made it
possible to have messages from a Bluetooth-connected mobile device
displayed in the vehicle and read out. With the arrival of an
automotive world first in the form of the dictation function, this
feature is now complemented by a full speech recognition system. For
the first time, this gives drivers the ability to dictate text freely
and compose short text-based messages simply by saying what they wish
Using a mobile device to write messages while at the wheel is a
dangerous distraction from what's happening on the road, which is
precisely why it is prohibited in many countries. The dictation
function changes all that, however, as it allows short emails or text
messages to be composed quickly, easily and, above all, safely while
on the move all by the power of speech with no need for drivers to
take their hands off the steering wheel or their eyes off the road.
The multilingual dictation function can recognise text read out in six
languages at present. Just as with similar desktop applications,
punctuation marks and instructions such as "new line" can be
dictated, too, if the driver wishes to obtain an end result that is
grammatically correct and easy to read.
The speech recognition technology is supplied by the company Nuance
under the name Dragon Drive! Messaging, and the recognition work is
performed on a remote server while the text is still being dictated.
The sheer volume of the cloud server's vocabulary is of tremendous
benefit for a full speech recognition system, as it allows it to draw
on millions of words without having to take up any memory space or
computing power in the vehicle. Just a few seconds after dictation has
been completed, the transcribed text will appear in the display and
can also be read out if desired. Needless to say, drivers have a
number of easy-to-use editing tools at their disposal for conveniently
putting the final touches to emails and SMS messages.
Voice memos and more intuitive voice control.
The range of office functions offered by BMW ConnectedDrive has been
expanded by another speech-based feature, too. The voice memo
function, in contrast to the dictation function, allows the driver to
make direct voice recordings of up to two minutes in length and send
them straight away by email if required. The great beauty of this is
that it allows the driver to make a quick note of any ideas or to-do
lists with an additional facility for forwarding them to whoever they
may concern without any great distraction from what's happening on
the road. Alternatively, drivers can simply take the recorded memos
with them on a USB stick when they leave the vehicle.
The improved voice control offered by the Navigation system
Professional is designed to enable more intuitive operation of
practically all functions by allowing the driver to phrase commands or
questions in whole sentences (in German or English at present) and
call up multiple functions with a single utterance, in the same way
that the navigation destination can be entered with just one
statement. The result is a voice control system that is even more
intuitive and easy and convenient to use, making it safer too. All the
driver has to do to phone someone, for example, is say the command:
"Connect me with John Smith", whereupon the system
recognises both the desire to make a phone call and the person the
driver wishes to speak to. This works regardless of which order the
first and surnames are registered in. The system then double-checks
that the displayed number should be dialled before placing the call.
The already sophisticated method of destination entry has also been
further simplified and speeded up. The prompt "Navigate to
London, 63 Park Lane" is sufficient to complete entry of the
navigation destination. It is even possible to start composing an
email or SMS message by voice control regardless of the current
position in the menu structure. This can also be done by stating the
intended recipient's name when in Contacts and selecting their email
address, which the system then automatically adds to the address
field. All that now remains to do is to enter the subject and text of
the message using the dictation function. The upshot of this is that
speech can now be used to activate or initiate virtually all functions
and actions from tuning in to a radio station to modifying route
criteria. What's more, the system is as unerring in its answers to
questions such as "How do I adjust the sound settings?" and
"Are there any traffic messages" (when in the map view) as
it is with system-related queries instigated with a simple
"Help" or "What can I say here?"
Voice control at the BMW Group.
The BMW Group has built up many years of experience with voice control
of vehicle functions. The introduction of full-word commands in 2006
was followed by a further milestone in 2009, when the BMW Group became
the world's first carmaker to offer a system capable of understanding
an entire address i.e. town, house number and street read out in
one go. By so doing, the BMW Group once again set a new standard for
rapid, precise entry of navigation destinations. The voice-controlled
search for music on the internal hard drive introduced in 2009 was
another unique feature, and in 2010, voice control was extended again
to include external music players. The overriding aim of voice control
is to facilitate easy, quick and, most importantly, safe operation of
the increasingly complex array of infotainment functions, especially
for navigation, entertainment and telephony/communication
6. Third-party apps "BMW ready".
In 2010, the BMW Group became the first carmaker to enable
comprehensive, application-based integration of the Apple iPhone into
vehicles. Apps extend the range of in-car services using the
smartphone, making it possible to use features such as web radio,
GoogleTM Local Search or FacebookTM safely and easily in the vehicle.
But that's just the start, as the application-based concept is
designed to allow the use of "external" apps, paving the way
for third-party services to be integrated into BMW and MINI models.
With these third-party apps, the range of functions can basically be
expanded at will: updating the app or installing another compatible
app simply adds new functions, without having to make any
modifications to the vehicle itself.
By integrating these third-party apps, the BMW Group gives customers
the option of continuing to use the preferred service providers
already familiar to them when driving in their car, too. In future,
this will allow the wide array of infotainment functions that BMW
drivers enjoy when at home or out and about to be smoothly transferred
to their vehicle.
Software Development Kit for third-party apps.
In order to ensure optimum integration of third-party applications
into the vehicle, the BMW Group offers providers a special Software
Development Kit (SDK). The SDK contains guidelines and specific tools
that are intended to help the third-party providers develop
compatible, vehicle-adapted versions of their apps. Following an
approval process, the applications are certified by the BMW Group for
MINI Connected, BMW Apps or Rolls-Royce Connect and made available to
load on the smartphone.
The prerequisite for all apps is that they meet the requirements for
distraction-free operation. The SDK consists of the framework as well
as the necessary development tools (e.g. a simulation of the iDrive
control logic in the vehicle [HMI]). The framework seamlessly
integrates the apps into the display and control concept, thereby
allowing them to be operated using the iDrive Controller and the
steering wheel buttons. The app is also able to use the audio system
and process vehicle data. Deeply embedding the app in the BMW display
and control concept in this way forms the basis for optimum usability
during the journey.
BMW Apps go Android/Expanding to include Android.
From July 2013, smartphones powered by Android platform will also be
able to benefit from application-based integration. With a market
share of more than 50 per cent, Android has become the most prevalent
smartphone operating system. The BMW Group is therefore vigorously
driving forward development in this area. By extending
application-based smartphone integration to Android users as well, BMW
now covers the bulk of the smartphone market and is opening up BMW
apps to an even wider community.
The first concrete results are currently taking shape. The BMW Group
specifically chose Samsung as its pilot partner for Android
integration. The company is the world market leader across all mobile
phone segments, including Android powered smartphones, making it an
obvious choice for the BMW Group to join forces with Samsung for the
launch of the app-based integration of Android. Android integration
will be gradually rolled out to include further manufacturers. The BMW
Group is once more highlighting its leadership claim for in-car
Leading the way for many years.
Opening up the platform for apps from other providers once again
underlines the leading role played by the BMW Group when it comes to
integrating mobile devices and internet-based services into the
vehicle. The BMW Group became the first carmaker to enable integration
of the Apple iPod into its vehicles' audio systems back in 2004. And
in 2007, the BMW Group gave an exclusive presentation of the first
technology for integrating the iPhone into its in-car infotainment
system in time for the phone's launch.
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