From March 2019, BMW drivers and passengers will be joined by an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt ‘Hey BMW’. This will mark the start of a new era for the BMW Group, in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information, simply by speaking.
The personal assistant will also be able to assist the driver outside their vehicle, whether it’s at home with the help of a smart speaker, or out and about via smartphone. What’s more, it will be compatible with other digital voice assistants beyond Amazon Alexa, too, providing a link to other, rapidly-growing ecosystems.
The personal assistant’s capabilities are developing all the time, courtesy of BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud and the use of artificial intelligence. The range of functions and skills available will be constantly expanded as part of regular updates, which can be carried out seamlessly on a smartphone and in-car by Remote Software Upgrade.
“BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant teams up with the new BMW Operating System 7.0 to create a brand new, digital form of interaction with the customer’s BMW, that redefines the whole driving experience,” says Dieter May, senior vice president Digital Products BMW Group. The Intelligent Personal Assistant learns routines and habits, and is subsequently able to apply them in the appropriate context. It helps the driver, learns their preferences and is familiar with their favoured settings.
Not only will the Intelligent Personal Assistant await the driver’s every command, but it’s always there to assist and even provide casual conversation. The system is familiar with the vehicle’s functions, so is able to operate them as required. Saying ‘Hey BMW, I’m cold’, for example, will prompt the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to adjust the temperature inside the car accordingly. Drivers will also be able to get answers to questions such as, ‘Is the oil level OK?, or ‘What warning messages do I have?’
The assistant will benefit from constant technical upgrades, and be able to learn more and more preferences and favoured settings. What’s more, it’ll take further strides forward with every command given, every question asked and every setting made. Forming the basis for all of this will be the portable, digital customer profile – the BMW ID. This profile links the car to the customer and their digital world.
There are important safety-related implications for the system, too. For example, saying ‘Hey BMW, I feel tired’ can trigger a ‘vitality programme’ that adjusts the lighting mood, music and temperature, among other things inside the car, to make the driver feel more awake. In future, the assistant will also be able to give fuel-saving driving tips, or think ahead and warn drivers as necessary. It could also provide alerts regarding potential problems (‘Tyre pressure is low’), and remind about upcoming vehicle service appointments.
The Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available in a basic version with voice control in 23 languages from early next year, and will also feature more natural voice control along with further intelligent functions. It will be offered on models featuring the new BMW Operating System 7.0 and, as part of the Live Cockpit Professional (6U3). The scope of functions can be extended with the Connected Package Professional.
BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant could be about to revolutionise the way we interact with our cars.