The task promises to be colossal. BMW will launch on Monday, October 19, for the attention of its German customers initially, "the biggest live update ever by a European manufacturer".
750,000 propeller brand vehicles will therefore benefit from a new in-house software update (0S 7/20), the first introduction of which dates back to 2018 on the X5. Already equipped with all the new features, BMWs produced from July 2020 are not affected by the operation.
The special feature of this update is that owners will not have (or no longer?) To visit their dealership. Everything will be done remotely, over the air or Over The Air (OTA) in English. Well known to telephone operators, this method has been brought to the forefront of the automotive scene by Tesla, which is THE main medium for updating its cars.
The biggest change concerns owners of an Android smartphone, who until now only had the phone function. Now Android Auto can be accessed wirelessly, just like CarPlay. Once again, BMW is positioning itself as a forerunner, having been the first to offer wireless CarPlay at the Paris Motor Show in 2016.
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Android Auto enthusiasts will thus have access to Google Assistant and access, from the touch screen, applications compatible with road use without the need for a smartphone. Finally, driving directions from Google Maps will also appear on the car's head-up system, as will Maps on CarPlay. Something that was not possible before.
New features include "Connected Parking", which alerts the driver to the likelihood of finding a free space on one of the streets near their destination. Of course, this implies that the parking spaces in the street are equipped with presence detectors. Finally, this service also takes into account the size of the vehicle.
Another application: "eDrive Zones", which allows a plug-in hybrid vehicle to automatically switch to 100% electric mode as soon as it enters a low emission zone (ZFE).
For electrified BMWs (rechargeable and electric hybrids), "connected charging" directs them directly to public charging stations. Also mentioned "hours of operation, suppliers or authentication options". Best of all, points of interest such as cafes and restaurants positioned near the kiosk are also indicated.
The "Smart Opener" function (opening without hands) for opening the trunk can be configured according to each user of the same vehicle.
Finally, BMW's intelligent personal assistant ("Hey BMW") bet on a more "human and emotional". He is able to distinguish the driver or passenger speaking to him, and to interact with him. The wizard also provides "more proactive assistance with tailored voice commands, and recommendations are displayed in a redesigned widget". You can now ask to lower the windows, choose your driving mode (Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro) or be advised on more efficient driving.
BMW ensures that its update should not exceed more than 20 minutes. If Germany is the first recipient, should quickly follow Europe, the United States, Canada, China and other international markets.
Remote updating, an improvement or downgrading weapon for cars
Remote updates or Over the air (OTA) offer significant savings in time and productivity for vehicle manufacturers. The latter can thus achieve savings on production lines by equipping all their models with the same software. According to desiderata client, this software can be unlocked remotely for the installation (or uninstallation) of a specific function.
For owners, this is on the one hand an opportunity to test the new feature (s) before taking out the wallet, but also to avoid an unnecessary trip to the dealership.
While this technology helps improve vehicles – Tesla is a perfect example – it can also be used to "downgrade" a vehicle. Thus, potential buyers of a used vehicle will have taken care to verify that said vehicle has all of its original features. The buyer of a used Tesla will be remembered for filing a complaint against the manufacturer after a feature disappeared. It turned out that the previous owner had stopped paying the monthly payment for the function in question. As a result, Tesla had disabled it remotely.