BMW makes car software updateable over the air

May 29, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
BMW makes car software updateable over the air
In the new edition of its 1 series model, BMW brings a host of new electronic functions onto the road. The most striking: The car’s software can now be updated over the air. Other models from the Bavarian vehicle manufacturer also benefit from this feature.

Tesla has had it for a long time, conventional car manufacturers are rather hesitant about it: software updates via the air interface (OTA). BMW has now taken a cautious first step with the launch of the new version of its 1 series.

With the Remote Software Upgrade, BMW for the first time offers its customers the opportunity to continuously update their vehicle software and download new features. The OTA capability is not only available for the 1 Series, but also for all BMW vehicles equipped with the Operating System 7.0 - including the latest BMW sedans. By the way, according to BMW's language regime, “Operating System” does not mean the same thing as is common in the software industry, i.e. the basic system software for computers. Rather, BMW understands this term to mean a collection of functions, display contents and operating concepts for its cars.

In any case, all BMW vehicles equipped with the Operating System 7.0 can now update their software online without having to visit a garage. The central element for these updates is the Intelligent Personal Assistant, part of BMW's user interface. BMW wants to enable vehicle-specific updates, including functional enhancements of driver assistance systems.

Are bug fixes also part of the range of functions? BMW's answer to this question is not clear, but is probably "yes". "Essentially, we want to achieve three customer benefits with Remote Software Upgrade”, a BMW spokesperson explained. “We want to continuously improve the quality and security of the vehicles, we want to improve and expand the vehicle functions, and in the future we also want to give customers the opportunity to book services and functions at a later date.” In future, homologation-relevant software content can also be updated via the air interface; this content is homologated for the respective vehicle type before it is made available, explains the company.

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