BMW makes car software updateable over the air: Page 2 of 2

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.

The updates can be carried out via the SIM card installed in the vehicle and the mobile telecommunications network. Alternatively, users can also use their smartphone, on which a corresponding app must be installed. Then they can, for example, download the update to their smartphone at home and then transfer it to the vehicle. For the time being, it is not planned to support updates directly to the vehicle via WiFi hotspots.

Beyond the OTA capability, the new 1 series, which will be presented to the public in Munich at the end of June, contains a number of further electronic refinements. Among other things, the vehicle can be opened and closed using a smartphone-based “digital key”; the presence of the authenticated smartphone is also a condition for driving ability: if this option is activated, the engine can only be started for security reasons if the smartphone is in the designated storage area.

The Personal Digital Assistant integrated in the vehicle is a kind of adaptive artificial intelligence (BMW avoids using the term artificial intelligence in its customer communication), inspired by what users can do with their smartphones today. The assistant learns processes, preferred settings and habits and can place them in a relevant context. He answers questions about the vehicle (e.g. "is the oil level okay"), explains technologies and knows relevant Points of Interests. Following the customs of various online services such as Google or Amazon, the assistant is addressed and activated with "Hey BMW", but one can also give it another name.

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