After back-to-back years of bringing distinctive, compelling ideas to the ground of the Client Electronics Present, BMW is popping inward in 2024 and specializing in the inside of the car — specifically, the varieties of expertise and media content material the automaker thinks its prospects will wish to work together with as they drive their high-priced, high-powered automobiles into the long run.
In an announcement, Frank Weber, chief expertise officer and member of the board of administration liable for BMW Group growth, mentioned that the corporate was exhibiting “extra content material, extra customization, and extra gaming.” And coming quickly, the corporate’s working system will characteristic “completely aligned” augmented actuality and “sturdy, dependable” AI to allow higher communication between the automobile and the driving force.
Virtually, which means that BMW is bringing extra streaming video content material and gaming choices to its automobiles. For its future lineup, the automaker insists that its prospects will have the ability to use beforehand unavailable applied sciences, together with augmented and combined actuality and in-car voice assistants powered by generative AI. No barf baggage required.
BMW Working System 9, often known as iDrive 9, depends on Google’s Android Automotive software program. Prospects who buy the elective “BMW Digital Premium” bundle will get entry to a variety of third-party apps from the corporate’s ConnectedDrive retailer, together with gaming on their car’s infotainment show whereas parked or charging at an EV station. Assumedly, rear passengers will have the ability to play as properly utilizing large screens such because the BMW i7’s 32-inch drop-down show.
And now, for the primary time, BMW house owners will have the ability to use actual online game controllers when taking part in. The automaker says “any normal gaming controller with Bluetooth functionality” can be utilized so long as the client’s car helps Working System 9. Over-the-air software program updates that can allow online game controllers are coming in 2024, BMW says. One such sport that may be performed utilizing controllers is Seashore Buggy Racing 2, a cell sport accessible in each the iOS App Retailer and the Google Play Retailer.
BMW is now the newest automaker to deliver gaming to its automobiles. The pattern was kicked off by Tesla, which has gone sooner and additional (generally too far) in providing gaming choices to its prospects. Tesla prospects can use sport controllers and even the automobile’s personal native controls, just like the steering wheel, to play sure video games.
Utilizing the corporate’s preexisting AirConsole app, car house owners can select between single-player and multiplayer video games. “Informal” video games during which prospects can use their smartphones as controllers can even be accessible.
After all, in-car distractions are at an all-time excessive, and BMW should put guardrails in place to make sure that car house owners aren’t capable of misuse these options whereas driving or that passenger gaming isn’t distracting the driving force.
If you happen to’re not a hardcore and even informal gamer, maybe you’ll discover BMW’s expanded video streaming choices extra up your alley. The corporate is updating its in-car video app for automobiles working Working System 8.5 and 9, together with on-demand and dwell choices. BMW is bringing these expanded choices to extra automobiles in 2024, such because the BMW X2 and all fashions within the new Mini lineup.
BMW’s i7 sedan — the one with the big 31-inch drop-down film display screen for rear passengers — contains embedded Amazon Hearth TV. The corporate is now working to combine one thing known as “DTS AutoStage Video Service powered by TiVo,” which it says contains “each dwell channels and on-demand media libraries protecting the classes information, sport, leisure for youths, films and TV sequence.” That system was first launched with BMW’s 5 sequence and might be coming to extra “govt and luxurious” fashions by way of an over-the-air software program replace in 2024.
Augmented and combined use actuality
Automakers have been attempting to make AR purposes for his or her automobiles for a really very long time. However now, BMW is claiming to be among the many first to get it proper.
The corporate says it should exhibit this functionality “for the primary time” at CES in Las Vegas. (Our producer Becca Farsace has heroically volunteered to strive it out on the present, so look out for that. Prayers up she doesn’t get too nauseous.)
Passengers might be invited to don a pair of Xreal Air 2 AR glasses, which use Micro OLEDs to mission a 1920 x 1080 pixel show in entrance of your eyes. On this approach, they are going to “see how navigation directions, hazard warnings, leisure content material, data on charging stations and supporting visualizations in parking conditions are embedded completely into the real-world surroundings.”
How completely? TBD. You’ll recall that BMW can be working with Meta to alleviate any problems with interacting with digital objects whereas transferring via the actual world at excessive pace. Usually, AR and VR purposes would have a particularly tough time working in a transferring car, however BMW says it has figured it out. (I believe it’s price quoting the corporate in full so you possibly can correctly perceive the extent of confidence we’re speaking about):
The BMW Group has been engaged on the event of AR/MR expertise since 2008 and investigating doable purposes for head-mounted shows in analysis tasks. The BMW engineers, along with their growth companions, have now succeeded in exhibiting steady augmented actuality and combined actuality content material to passengers in a dynamically transferring car for the primary time. The displayed picture stays securely embedded within the surroundings even in difficult driving conditions, similar to when turning, driving over giant bumps or accelerating. To attain this, the monitoring system of the AR/MR gadget in query must be linked to the car’s sensor knowledge.
BMW says it desires to create an “business normal” for the way AR and MR can be utilized in automobiles, pointing to its work with digital keys for example of how it will method such work.
The corporate assumes that rear passengers, similar to luxurious car house owners who are sometimes chauffeured to work, will wish to put on Xreal’s AR glasses to do work or take part in digital conferences. Gaming is one other doable utility.
Generative AI and LLMs
BMW says it’s making progress on utilizing Amazon’s Alexa expertise to construct its personal customized voice assistant, which it first introduced again in 2022. The corporate says it’s prepared to point out off its progress to date prematurely of “a possible sequence rollout.” (In different phrases, nonetheless underneath growth and no assured product to announce but.)
Utilizing Alexa’s giant language mannequin as its basis, BMW’s Clever Private Assistant will have the ability to reply to “fast directions and solutions about car capabilities in a way more human, conversation-like method, whereas on the identical time having the ability to management some car capabilities.”
To make sure, Alexa has been accessible as an in-car voice assistant in BMW automobiles since 2018. However BMW says its present lineup lacks “complicated processing capabilities” and “human-like interactions and dialogs,” however that may very well be coming quickly due to LLMs.
Automakers throughout the business are scrambling to create stronger hyperlinks between their voice assistants and core car capabilities. What’s fascinating right here is that BMW is sticking with its plan to make use of Amazon’s Alexa as its foundation slightly than shifting to Google’s AI merchandise, which might theoretically complement the automaker’s Android-based working system.
Lastly, BMW says it’s working with auto provider Valeo on an “automated valet parking” characteristic that additionally might work by way of teleoperation.
In response to the automaker, prospects would depart their automobiles in designated drop-off areas. The car would then seek for a vacant parking house itself, maneuver into the house, and later drive again to the pick-up space for assortment by the driving force. “Both an autonomous driving system or a teleoperated valet system can be utilized because the underlying expertise for this,” BMW provides.
The challenges of teleoperation are myriad, primarily round preserve a robust connection between the distant operator and the car with none latency. Most autonomous car corporations embody some type of teleassistance, however full-blown distant operation stays a combined bag.
Like most automakers, BMW has been engaged on self-parking expertise for a bit, even getting recognition from the US Division of Transportation for it at one time. However self-parking is difficult, and whereas all corporations have some self-parking and even automated parallel parking system accessible, it will be a stretch to counsel that it’s completely bug-free.