BMW and GoPro have taken the wraps off of perhaps the best BMW App yet. The new GoPro App features full integration of the camera’s functionality directly in the iDrive interface. We got to play with the new app and the updated GoPro Hero3+ at Road America recently (alongside the new M4) and came away incredibly impressed. The in-car app not only allows you to start and stop the video but gives you a series of presets that takes much of the guess-work out of setting up the GoPro. In short it streamlines the process and gets you driving and recording faster.
The app works by having the GoPro app on your iPhone (it’s iOS only for this initial release) and the plugging the phone into your BMW App equipped BMW. From there you go to apps in the car and press GoPro – that’s it.
The integration of the app in the vehicle operating system is taken care of via the customer’s Apple iPhone, while the signal exchange with the GoPro camera is ensured by means of a WLAN connection. This enables the camera to be controlled wirelessly – regardless of whether it is mounted inside or outside the car – for example on a bumper, on the roof or on an exterior mirror – so as to be able to take photos and films high-speed road action.
The driver can use a menu on the on-board computer not only to start and stop the camera but also to set the shooting mode. There is a choice of video and single-image shots as well as photo series with short or long frequency. Special modes are also available to optimise image quality in various driving situations such as night time or cornering. In addition, the camera can be switched on and off using the BMW operating system, and the charge state of the camera battery can be displayed on the screen along with the strength of the WLAN signal and the remaining recording capacity. When the car is standing still, a preview image is displayed which shows the camera perspective.
The App is compatible with all Wifi equipped GoPros making much of this technology backwards compatible. The GoPro app is actually an updated version of the current App that has been unlocked to now work with BMW Apps in-car.
The BMW Group Technology Office and GoPro have announced the first-ever, mass-produced integration of a GoPro camera with an automobile’s on board infotainment system. In BMW Group vehicles equipped with the BMW Apps or MINI Connected option, a GoPro camera may now be configured and controlled using BMW’s state-of-the-art iDrive controller and high-resolution screen. Starting in July 2014, the integration will be functional on all model year 2012 and later BMW Group vehicles equipped with the BMW Apps or MINI Connected option, when used with a Wi-Fi-equipped GoPro camera. The updated GoPro App is now available for free in the iTunes Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gopro-app/id561350520).
“Working with GoPro to design this integration was remarkable,” said Phil Johnston, Head of BMW Group AppCenter USA. “’Creative’ and ‘insightful’ just begin to describe the experience. GoPro is a natural fit for BMW enthusiast drivers. The power and flexibility of the BMW Group App Integration Platform coupled with GoPro’s advanced camera technology brings new, safe, and engaging experiences to the enthusiasts that were previously not possible. When the camera is connected to the car, it allows GoPro’s app to present context-appropriate presets that allow the enthusiast to capture the perfect shot.”
“GoPro has deep roots in motorsports and is passionate about enabling drivers to capture their road or track experience,” said Adam Silver, GoPro Director of Strategic Product Opportunities. “The GoPro and BMW collaboration sets a new standard in the category and is an important first step in a partnership designed to deliver next-level integration between camera and car.”
This groundbreaking integration is designed specifically to reduce driver distraction and enhance the capabilities for which “The Ultimate Driving Machine®” and GoPro, one of the world’s most versatile cameras, are famous. In addition to aiming the camera using BMW’s large central screen, users may quickly choose between six pre-set camera modes: Leisure Drive Facing Out, Night Driving, Sport Drive Facing Out, Drive Camera Facing In, Winding Road Time-lapse, and Straight Road Time-lapse. The camera’s RECORD function may be started and stopped by the driver at will, and vital camera status indicators are displayed, including recording elapsed time, battery life, and Wi-Fi signal strength. The user may also toggle the camera’s SLEEP mode to prolong battery life between shots.
How it works.
First, the user’s BMW or MINI vehicle must be equipped with the BMW Apps or MINI Connected option, respectively. Next, the user’s Wi-Fi-equipped GoPro camera (HERO3+ and later) communicates with the GoPro App installed on the driver’s iPhone 4 or later, which must be connected to the vehicle either through the iPhone USB cable or the BMW Accessory snap-in adaptor for iPhone. The driver will access the App through the BMW ConnectedDrive or MINI Connected menu, which is displayed on the large, trans-reflective central screen (up to 10.2 inches, depending on model).
The BMW Group Technology Office and GoPro designed the on-board operating menu to streamline the camera’s operation and take full advantage of the integrated environment. Menu choices appear to the left of the screen, and the camera’s actual field of view is displayed in near real-time while the vehicle is stationary.