Everyone is talking about the smartphone on wheels, but in the case of the BMW, the software updates “Over the Air” (OTA) actually work. The latest update for the OS7 operating system improves the digital assistant and Android Auto, among other things.
With the launch of the OS7 operating system, BMW took a big step in 2018 – at least for an automaker. That’s because OS7, which has been used in all new models (1-series, 2-series, 3-series, new 5-series, 7-series, 8-series, X5, X6, X7, Z4) since its debut in the X5, can be provided with updates “over the air” (OTA). Important: The updates do not only affect the infotainment system, but the entire vehicle. While BMW developers made rather timid use of this option at the beginning, swapping the black-and-white icons in the infotainment for colored ones, for example, the second major update in 2020 will already follow from October 19. It will affect more than 750,000 vehicles worldwide and, according to BMW, is the largest and most extensive upgrade to date.
A look at the competition shows how impressive this step is: Mercedes recently announced that it would cooperate with the IT giant and chip manufacturer NVIDIA, among other things to provide the vehicle with fully wireless updates in the future. The Swabians will start with the new E-Class – but not for another four years.
The personal assistant can now distinguish between the driver and front passenger and leans toward the person it is speaking to.
Software update via the Internet
But BMW is already following up with an even more extensive update, which it calls Remote Software Upgrade, or RSU for short. The update requires neither a workshop appointment nor a lengthy installation process. It is downloaded from the Internet via the standard SIM card of the infotainment system and is announced via push message in the vehicle or in the BMW app.
Many of the innovations here are based on the navigation system, a terrain long thought dead for car manufacturers, and are intended to offer drivers real added value:
The sat nav in BMWs with OS7 calculates routes cloud-based after the update, which BMW says brings significant speed advantages. Points-of-Interests (POI) receive additional contextual information on opening times and images. In addition, the destination input has been significantly revised.
Android Auto, for a long time not available at all for BMW customers, works wirelessly without a USB cable connection after the update. Navigation instructions from Google Maps are shown in the Info Display and Head-up Display.
eDriveZones is for BMW plug-ins, which can use it to automatically switch to electric driving mode when entering environmental zones. Currently, eDrive Zones are already available in over 90 European cities.
Connected Parking helps with the search for a parking space and, after the update, also takes the size of the vehicle into account when matching it with the parking situation on site.
The BMW Digital Assistant gets a new and more emotional look and can distinguish between driver and front passenger. In addition, new voice commands are added. After the update, for example, the window lifters can be operated by voice command, the driving modes can be changed, or advice on more efficient driving can be obtained.