Earlier this week we brought you news of BMW ‘s ConnectedDrive being substantially updated for 2014 models. As is usually the case the US will be getting a specific set of features from that upgrade. In short, while there ‘s nothing revolutionary in this year ‘s changes there are numerous user experience and technology enhancements. Here ‘s a quick look at what ‘s changing and being upgraded:

– BMW Assist standard in nearly all 2014 models including 10 years of eCall with enhanced Automatic Collision Notification and BMW Teleservice.
– Updated BMW iDrive 4.2 available or standard on most 2014 models with a range of enhancements and additional features (finally including a more US centric way of inputting addresses).
– BMW navigation and BMW Online standard equipment on all 2014 5, 6 and 7 Series cars as well as 2014 X5 and X6 Sports Activity Vehicles. It is optional on all other models. In addition to BMW Online, BMW navigation includes Advanced Real Time Traffic Information (ARTTI)1 .
– Concierge service is now standard on all V8 and V12 equipped 2014 6 and 7 Series models. It is now available as a standalone upgrade on most other 2014 models. The service can be initialized at the time of purchase or can be added anytime after purchase.
– Internet access is available as an option on 2014 models equipped with navigation and the latest BMW iDrive 4.22 as part on BMW Online. The internet browser is connected through the vehicle using a 3G network connection.
Enhanced voice command options including available message dictation and integration of both Apple Siri and Samsung SVoice through the vehicle’s voice command controls.3
– Expanded availability of BMW Apps-ready third party apps. In addition to the apps available in the US today – including Pandora, MOG, Stitcher and Aupeo – new BMW Apps that will be available soon include Audible, TuneIn, Rhapsody and Glympse with more to follow. Later this year, BMW Apps integration will be available for devices with the Android operating system.


For the full report on what ‘s coming to the US market check out the official release below.

Official Release: BMW ConnectedDrive has been synonymous with forward-looking concepts and technologies in the domain of automotive connectivity for many years. By refocusing on tailor-made mobility services and new, highly innovative service features, BMW is extending its lead in this field. In the US, this will mean new standards offering throughout the range for the 2014 model year, a significant update to the latest BMW iDrive user interface, the ability for customers to add services after they purchase the vehicle if they wish. BMW ConnectedDrive will also include a range of features tailored specifically to BMW i.

Target: BMW ConnectedDrive in many markets and for all vehicles.

From the outset, BMW ConnectedDrive has been geared towards the mobility requirements of its users both today and into the future. The carmaker’s pioneering role is exemplified by the very first in-car integration of an Apple iPod in BMW cars back in 2004, as well as the multitude of apps for in-car use introduced since 2011. The reorientation of the services now turns comprehensive, intelligent connectivity between passengers, vehicle and the outside world into a reality, while the new and enhanced service features are to be made available for all models by means of a SIM card integrated into the vehicle.

Today BMW ConnectedDrive services are available in 11 countries. Over the course of 2013, the BMW ConnectedDrive service portfolio will be extended to an additional 14 markets around the world. The objective is to have around five million BMW cars linked up worldwide via ConnectedDrive with the help of the built-in SIM card by the year 2017. This broadening of its strategy makes BMW the first carmaker to firmly commit itself to the goal of achieving blanket connectivity. This will see BMW customers reap the benefits of a steadily increasing number of innovative new features and functions with high practical value.


BMW Assist: Standard on nearly all 2014 models with 10 years of eCall with enhanced Automatic Collision Notification and BMW Teleservice.

BMW Assist has been available since 1997. It is now included in nearly every BMW sold in the US. For the 2014 model year, BMW Assist will be standard on nearly every model4. It will include 10 years of eCall emergency calling with enhanced Automatic Collision Notification as well as BMW Teleservice. An automatic emergency call system is set to become mandatory for all new vehicles in the EU from 2015. BMW Assist eCall offers this function today with far greater capability than will be required by law. Should an airbag be deployed, for instance, the system will transmit an automatic emergency call to the BMW call centre including the precise location of the accident site. BMW Assist eCall includes enhanced Automatic Collision Notification, which includes the groundbreaking Urgency Algorithm, developed in cooperation with the William Lehman Injury Research Center in Miami. Apart from the vehicle’s exact position and direction of travel, details of the vehicle model and all the data gathered by the sensors in the car are relayed to the call centre as well. This information provides indications as to the nature and severity of the collision, while the deployment of the car’s restraint systems gives an idea of the number of people injured and allows frontal, rear, side or even multiple collisions to be identified and differentiated. The Urgency Algorithm transmits the likelihood of severe injury. On the basis of all accident-related data, the call center decides which and how many emergency services are required at the accident site (e.g. doctor, paramedic, fire brigade, helicopter). The data also enables the first responders to alert the appropriate medical care for those involved in the accident before they have even arrived at the scene. The call center will also stay in contact with the vehicle’s occupants until the emergency services arrive, speaking to them in their native language where possible. As well as automatic activation, the system also allows the driver or front passenger to trigger the emergency call manually in order to help other road users in distress by alerting the call center.

TeleService tells the driver if and when maintenance is required. Fixed service intervals become a thing of the past, because the intelligent maintenance system, Condition Based Service, constantly monitors your vehicle ‘s service needs. When necessary, the vehicle communicates service-relevant data to the nearest BMW Service Centre by making an Automatic BMW TeleService Call.

BMW iDrive: The evolution of groundbreaking interface continues for 2014 model year

BMW’s groundbreaking user interface has undergone constant improvement and development since its inception in 2002. On the heels of its most recent update, BMW’s iDrive will see significant enhancements for model year 2014. Not only will more models receive the latest iDrive 4.2, but the system gets enhancements that improve the user experience in the areas of navigation, Advanced Real Time Traffic Information, connectivity, entertainment, online access and voice commands. One example is the ability to engage automatic time setting. When active, the time will automatically be adjusted for Daylight Saving or Standard time as well as changes in time zone while traveling.

BMW Navigation – Touchpad, Point-of-Interest voice search and enhanced route tailoring among highlights

The BMW navigation system has received many enhancements, including a new protocol for entering addresses which more closely mirrors the way US users think of addresses. Now after a state has been entered users can input house or business number, street and city or town.

Before setting out, the prescribed route can be tailored to avoid certain areas, for example, if the user anticipates heavy traffic or knows of construction on that route. The system will recalculate the route to avoid the selected area. Multiple areas to avoid can be selected for a given route and the size of coverage is fully adjustable.

The online Google search function has been enhanced for customers who subscribe to BMW Online. Users can now search for points-of-interest (POI) via voice. Once the user has spoken their POI, the navigation system can then guide the driver to their desired destination.

Advanced Real Time Traffic Information was significantly enhanced for iDrive 4.2 to provide a clearer view of traffic congestion using green, yellow and red indicators along the route to indicate the degree to which roads are clear or congested. The traffic incident view has been enhanced again to provide more precise indications in red of the specific location of stopped traffic.

The BMW navigation system for most 2014 models will include a new iDrive controller with Touchpad. The touchpad is integrated into the top of the controller and does not require a separate location. Phone numbers, contact names and address can be written out directly on the touchpad. The user can seamlessly switch between the touchpad and the controller while information is being entered. The touchpad can also be used to zoom in and out on the interactive map.


Entertainment – Expanded access via BluetoothTM enhances listening options

Among the enhancements for BluetoothTM access is iAP, an Apple-specific protocol. A USB connection will not be required in order to access one’s music library on an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. iAP will make it possible to browse and select music using the BMW controller and screen via a wireless Bluetooth connection with the same functionality as with USB connection.

Users will now be able to seamlessly switch between USB and Bluetooth connectivity on any device without the need for an additional step. The system will automatically switch between access types to ensure continuous device connectivity.

An update for satellite radio listeners allows users to see SiriusXM channel logos in the Player Screen display. As previously announced, MY 2013 and newer users now receive SiriusXM All Access for the full subscription year included with the satellite radio option. This makes it possible to listen via the SiriusXM website on a computer, tablet or other devices.

A visual volume indicator will now make it possible to see the volume level at a glance. The visual volume indicator will be available for entertainment and navigation instructions.

BMW Online – Internet browser as well as split-screen access now available.

Subscribers to BMW Online can now add access to the internet while the vehicle is stationary. The internet browser is connected through the vehicle using a 3G network connection. Split screen functionality is now available while using BMW Online. Navigation map and instructions, entertainment details and other onboard content can now be displayed alongside BMW Online.

Voice Access – Apple Siri, Samsung SVoice now accessible. New visual voice command suggestions.

With the latest update to BMW iDrive, both Apple Siri and Samsung SVoice can be accessed through the vehicle’s voice command controls. With a paired device, pressing and holding the steering wheel voice command button will engage the device’s voice access. Pressing the steering wheel voice button without holding it will continue to access the vehicle’s voice command functions.

The BMW voice command system itself has been enhanced to now include visual voice command suggestions. Once activated a banner across the top of the display offers prompts for when to speak and provides suggestions for what to say. The suggestions are tailored to the individual menu or function that the driver wishes to access.

Concierge Service: now standard or available as a standalone option

Concierge service is now standard on all V8 and V12 equipped 2014 6 and 7 Series models. It is now available as a standalone upgrade on most other 2014 models. The service can be initialized at the time of purchase or can be added anytime after purchase. Concierge service puts a personal assistant at your beckon 24/7. The assistant can be reached at anytime using the car’s SOS button or from a Bluetooth enabled cell phone. The assistant can find places of interest, and send the address right to your navigation. Alternatively, the assistant can send the phone number of the destination right to your Bluetooth enabled phone. The service also includes critical calling. If a cell phone is not available, the concierge can place a call.

BMW ConnectedDrive services: Now more powerful than ever thanks to new services and apps.

BMW is extending its standing as the world’s leading provider of web-based in-car services by introducing some major enhancements. BMW ConnectedDrive customers are now able to further improve their mobile Internet experience with the help of browser-based applications (vehicle apps) in BMW Online such as Yelp and Google Street View. For yet greater convenience while travelling, there is the BMW Connected app for smartphones, which includes functions such as web radio, Facebook, Twitter, calendar, Wiki Local, Last Mile plus several more besides. All applications, regardless of whether they are vehicle apps used via BMW Online or smartphone apps, are controlled using the iDrive controller and Control Display with the familiar menu structure. In addition to all future BMW ConnectedDrive customers, the extended range of services is also available to a large number of existing customers at no extra charge.

Third-party apps mean the infotainment possibilities are virtually boundless.

The highly flexible app concept makes it possible to incorporate not just the applications specially developed by the BMW Group, but also BMW Apps-ready applications from other providers. With the advent of these BMW Apps-ready applications, BMW is giving customers the option of continuing to use their favorite or familiar service providers when driving in their car, too. 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 in future.

With these BMW Apps-ready applications, the range of functions can basically be expanded at will. The prerequisite for all apps is that they meet the BMW requirements for distraction-free operation. In order to ensure optimum integration of third-party applications into the vehicle, the BMW Group offers providers a special Software Development Kit (SDK). This contains specific tools that are intended to help the third-party providers develop compatible, vehicle-adapted versions of their apps that are befitting of the cars’ premium status. The current portfolio comprising Pandora, MOG, Stitcher and Aupeo is being gradually extended by the addition of numerous exciting third-party apps such as Rhapsody, TuneIn Radio, Audible and Glympse. From this summer, application-based integration will also be compatible with smartphones running the Google Android operating system. With a market share of over 50 percent, Android is now the most widely used operating system for smartphones.

Easier voice commands thanks to natural speech recognition.

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. The multilingual dictation function can recognize six languages at present. Punctuation marks and instructions such as “new line” can also be dictated. The speech recognition service is performed outside the vehicle by BMW cooperation partner Nuance. The range of office functionalities 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 immediately send them by email if required.

LTE mobile high-speed Internet available for use in every car. The BMW LTE Car Hotspot already makes it possible to enjoy mobile Internet in your car today at the high speeds offered by LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology. The BMW LTE Car Hotspot acts like a home router, forming an interface between the mobile device and the World Wide Web. 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, allowing the passengers in the vehicle to surf the Internet at high speed with as many as eight mobile devices at the same time.

BMW i stands for a whole new concept of premium mobility and calls for a new generation of flexible, simplified mobility services that are designed to enable vehicles to be linked seamlessly into the customers’ individual lifestyles. BMW i will be the world’s first fully networked sub-brand offering tailor-made, state-of-the-art BMW i ConnectedDrive services.

BMW i ConnectedDrive services as standard for BMW i models.

For this purpose, all new BMW i models will come as standard with an integral SIM card together with BMW ConnectedDrive services that have been specially devised for electric mobility and future mobility demands. Because the card is built in, it ensures an optimum connection to the BMW ConnectedDrive services throughout the vehicle’s life. The BMW i is furthermore equipped with a navigation system that already features BMW i ConnectedDrive services, and has been systematically tailored to the specific requirements of electric mobility and of flexible, individual, convenient mobility in tomorrow’s world. Examples of this include BMW Assist eCall and services accessible in the BMW i Remote app. Should the customer wish to use further products from BMW & BMW i ConnectedDrive services, such as Concierge Services, Internet or RTTI, they can be booked individually from the comfort of their home computer by visiting the BMW ConnectedDrive Store (see also Chapter 3).

BMW i ConnectedDrive services always at the focus of attention.

The BMW i3 comes with two top-quality displays for the exchange of information between vehicle and driver and for operating the infotainment and communications functions. There is a large 6.5-inch screen positioned on top of the steering column, where all driving-related data such as speed and range appears, and a second 8.8 inch screen in the centre of the dashboard for displaying, for example, the information from the navigation system, which is connected to the outside world via BMW i ConnectedDrive. This central display also serves to keep the driver and front passenger fully informed of the vehicle’s status and the drive system’s operating mode. The two displays have been designed to interact in such a way that the information shown is split between them to optimum effect, as the situation requires.

Total networking facilitates mobility planning.

The driving range of electrically powered vehicles is very much dependent on driving style. The BMW eDrive technology aboard the BMW i3 is designed to allow the vehicle to cover a distance of 80 to 100 miles on a full battery charge. Even before setting off, the BMW i ConnectedDrive services provide the driver with realistic estimates of the vehicle’s current range. One of the key elements of the networked navigation system is a dynamic range map, which delivers precise, reliable readings by factoring in all relevant parameters along the planned route. The battery’s charge status, driving style, activity of electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode are all taken into account for the calculation, along with the route’s topography and current traffic levels. The system is therefore able to make allowance for the extra energy used up for both an upcoming climb and stop-start traffic or traffic jams, and lower its range calculation accordingly. Optional real-time traffic data added to the equation, too. High-performance analysis and evaluation of the information is carried out permanently via the BMW ConnectedDrive servers. Every BMW i is constantly in contact with these servers thanks to the built-in SIM card, and this networking provides ultra-precise real-time information.

Dynamic range display for all driving modes.

Taking the vehicle’s current location as a starting point, the dynamic range display from BMW i ConnectedDrive joins up all the points that can be reached with the available energy reserves to form a spidergram in the navigation display. Since the driver is able to actively influence the vehicle’s energy consumption and therefore its range by switching the driving mode, the graphical representation of the range calculation is made available in two variants, allowing the driver to view the relevant current range in both COMFORT and ECO PRO mode. The driver is furthermore able to see the range that would be available if the ECO PRO+ mode was selected, so that it is always possible to know how much extra range could be obtained by changing the driving mode. The Driving Range Assistant can detect when the remaining driving range might become critical and advise the driver to choose a more efficient driving mode, a more economical route or an available charging station in the vicinity if necessary. BMW i therefore brings BMW ConnectedDrive networked services and BMW EfficientDynamics energy management together to create a perfect symbiosis.

BMW i Remote app: vehicle monitoring, mobility planning and efficiency optimisation.

The BMW i Remote app allows an upcoming journey in a BMW i car to be planned out in advance easily and conveniently by means of a smartphone. Using this application, which has been purpose-developed for the demands of electric mobility and will be available for the iOS and Android operating systems, the driver is able to access all vehicle data or route-related information anywhere at any time. For example, a vehicle status checklist can be called up on the smartphone that retrieves the current vehicle data via the BMW server. The driver can additionally view the vehicle’s location and the destinations in the surrounding area that are within range based on the current battery charge level. The vehicle’s interior can also be set to the desired temperature by remote control, either immediately or in time for departure using the timer control. Even the high-voltage battery can be adjusted to the optimum temperature in advance in order to maximise the driving range. If the vehicle is plugged into a public charging station or the BMW i Wallbox, the charging procedure can likewise be controlled remotely and even programmed to run at times when electricity is cheaper (e.g. at night) with the timer function. Using the BMW i Remote app, it is possible to search for and select both navigation destinations and charging stations, and then relay them to the vehicle. No matter whether they are shown in the navigation system or on the smartphone, all relevant charging stations appear together with an indication of whether they currently have any free spaces.

The pedestrian navigation function included in the BMW i Remote app takes the local public transport network into account and conveniently directs drivers to their final destination after leaving the vehicle. Whether the journey was planned in the vehicle or at home, the destination appears directly in the BMW i Remote app as soon as the driver has left their car. BMW i thereby facilitate an individual, sustainable and easy form of mobility with seamless guidance from start to finish.

Away from their car, drivers are additionally able to evaluate their personal driving style and compare it with other BMW i drivers, allowing them to hone the way they drive by recognising where there is room for improvement.

Highly automated driving: Travelling Europe’s motorways with electronic co-pilot.

With the aim of offering motorists vehicles equipped with cutting-edge driver assistance systems for convenience and safety in the future, the engineers at BMW Group Forschung und Technik, the company’s research and technology arm, have been working on an electronic co-pilot for highly automated driving on the highway. A prototype vehicle from BMW Group Forschung und Technik already drove along the A9 motorway from Munich towards Nuremberg with no driver intervention back in 2011. The research work has now reached the stage where highly automated changes between motorways are possible at motorway intersections. This is a further key step towards the universal handling of highway and interstate networks, something that will in future allow customers to enjoy a continuous highly automated driving experience. The principal technologies required for highly automated driving were developed by the BMW Group Forschung und Technik engineers over the course of the preceding BMW TrackTrainer and Emergency Stop Assistant research projects. The BMW TrackTrainer is capable of lapping race tracks in highly automated driving mode while following the racing line in order to provide some very targeted driver training. The BMW Emergency Stop Assistant performs a highly automated maneuver to bring the vehicle safely to a stop if the driver is suddenly incapacitated by illness. The research prototype for highly automated driving is able to brake, accelerate and overtake all by itself, but always in accordance with the prevailing traffic situation and while adhering to all traffic regulations. The team of specialists has already logged around 6,200 test miles (10,000 kilometers). In order for this highly automated research vehicle to operate fluidly in traffic without attracting attention, its operating strategies must be clearly defined. One of the fundamental components from which these strategies are derived, apart from accurate positioning of the vehicle in its own traffic lane, is the unfailing detection of all vehicles and objects in the immediate vicinity. This is achieved by fusing the data from diverse and complementary sensor technologies, including LIDAR, radar, ultrasound and camera scanning on all sides of the vehicle. Despite this 360° sensing capability, there is little on the outside to tell the vehicle apart from a standard production model.

It is of particular importance to the researchers that the technology study’s level of intelligence is constantly enhanced. At motorway slip roads, for example, the research prototype behaves cooperatively by leaving enough space to allow road users on an on-ramp to filter onto the highway. The latest advance is the vehicle’s capability to negotiate highway intersections without intervention from the driver, enabling it to change from one highway to another. At the “München – Nord” motorway intersection, for instance, the car is already able to switch automatically from the A9 to the A92 heading towards the airport, and back again. The main challenges to be successfully overcome by the research team included the very fine lateral control in tight corners, as well as the clarity of points on the high-precision digital map in places where several roads converge. The BMW Group’s next big target is highly automated driving on European motorways with all of the accompanying challenges – in other words, travelling through tollgates, roadwork and beyond national borders. That prompted the BMW Group to enter into a research partnership with international automotive supplier Continental in January 2013. The collaborative project between the BMW Group and Continental is set to run until the end of 2014, by which time several test prototypes fitted with near-production technology should have been built.