BMW’s new generation iDrive further explained…part 1

We will bring you in several reports some further details about the latest iDrive, which is a further step into improved vehicle interaction in this era where things get increasingly smarter.

BMW’s operating system equips the vehicle to actively engage in its relationship with those on board. As BMW states, a natural dialogue is created with the aim of precisely tailoring all the functions controlled via BMW iDrive to the driver’s needs and preferences as the situation demands.

Underpinning the unique user experience are the new BMW Operating System 8, a new generation of displays, controls and software, and extremely powerful connectivity and data processing. The new iDrive will be rolled out gradually across all vehicle classes, making its debut later this year in the BMW iX before also featuring in the BMW i4.

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant adjusts to the driver’s individual needs and routines, as well as the situation at hand, and this makes it – more than ever – a central operating channel of human-machine interaction.

The operating system is designed with a clear focus on dialogue-based interaction using natural language and touch operation via the BMW Curved Display.

But there is more. BMW speaks of “Great Entrance Moments”, bringing emotionality to the relationship between driver and vehicle even before the driver climbs on board.

This new customer experience welcomes the driver and invites him or her into the vehicle with a thoroughly choreographed routine. During the journey, the new “My Modes” use an all-encompassing interplay of various functions to conjure special moments from a combination of vehicle characteristics and the interior ambience adapted to the situation at hand.

Processing data leading to further personalisation…

The new BMW iDrive constantly processes a large quantity of self-generated data, information available online and data imported from the BMW Group vehicle fleet to implement the driver’s wishes in a context-related way.

This is paving the way for even greater personalisation, and this system is called the “BMW ID.”

This system recognises repetitive situations, learns from them and provides suggestions on how functions can be activated accordingly. There is even more to keep the system up to date: Remote Software Upgrade allows the new BMW iDrive to benefit from regular over-the-air improvements, integrate additional functions and stay up to date at all times.

Design approach and operating concept.

The BMW iX all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle was developed from the inside out. It’s the same story with the user experience for the new BMW iDrive. The wishes of those travelling in the iX underpin how the user experience is designed – in all its facets and for all the senses.

Advances made in the field of digital design are likewise reflected in the design of a user interface which not only fulfils its functional role but is also clear, aesthetically pleasing and rich in detail.

This artistic approach creates surprising moments, with graphic presentation on the displays precisely designed, down to the last pixel.

The interaction between driver and vehicle becomes a unique experience in which the boundaries between the digital and analogue worlds melt away.

The digital design’s use of form fits in neatly with the geometric structures of the analogue elements in the new BMW design language. A prime example is the use of clear, minimalist design in both the exterior and interior of the car, which is reflected in the pure, reduced design of the digital elements of BMW iDrive.

The Curved Display takes centre stage…

The most distinctive new addition to the physical components on board is the BMW Curved Display, which groups together the information display and control display. This curving screen offers a futuristic interpretation of the traditional driver orientation in the cockpit design of BMW models. The BMW Curved Display is angled clearly towards the driver , making the intuitive touch control even more straightforward. In this new BMW Curved Display, the screen areas of the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display merge together into a single unit.

The “Act, Locate and Inform” principle, which ensures information is distributed clearly and screen redundancy is avoided, takes the signature BMW driver orientation of the cockpit design to a new level. Pre-filtering ensures that only information relevant to the driving situation is presented to the driver – and always shown where they can absorb it as quickly and easily as possible.

Voice control and the touch function of the BMW Curved Display were prioritized as usage options in the development of the new BMW iDrive. The number of buttons and switches has been reduced by almost half. At the same time, control clusters for relevant and frequently used basic functions are retained where customers expect to find them. The control panels on the centre console and instrument panel have an all-new, minimalist design. The familiar iDrive Controller is the central control element on the centre console. The Touch Controller, designed in an extremely smart glass-effect finish for the BMW iX, is encircled by a bezel painted in Gold Bronze.

The upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant performs the role of a digital character which can engage in natural dialogue with the driver and front passenger – similarly to a relationship between humans.

More about the Graphical User Interface in a following report…

Last but not least, we are looking forward to drive some BMW and Mini products in June, and maybe get a first “real” experience of the iDrive also in the coming months…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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