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BMW to introduce personal assistant for drivers

BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will serve drivers in a variety of ways

Joe Duarte
Published: September 10, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: September 14, 2018, 2:05 AM

BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant welcome screen

It may not have all the functionality of Jarvis, but BMW’s new Personal Assistant will take care of all its owner’s needs on a motoring level.

2019 BMW M5 Competition interior

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant — a new proprietary AI assistant that can be beckoned with a “Hey BMW” to serve the driver in a variety of ways — is an AI assistant that can help control vehicle settings, and navigation and entertainment systems.

“BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant combines with the new BMW Operating System 7.0 to create a brand new, digital form of interaction with your BMW that redefines the whole driving experience,” said Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Products BMW Group.

Set to debut on 2019 vehicles, it can help explain vehicle systems (“Hey BMW, how do the automatic high-beams work?”), check vehicle status (“Hey BMW, is the oil level ok?”) and can even carry on a conversation (“Hey BMW, what is the meaning of life?”). Pre-programmed actions will also respond to statements such as “Hey BMW, I’m tired,” by triggering changes in temperature, lighting and music, among others, to help the driver revitalize.

Future versions will be able to relay maintenance info, such a tire losing pressure, track appointments, and even schedule maintenance appointments. It will also work outside the vehicle, either through a smartphone app or via a home speaker, and it will be compatible with other digital voice assistants.

BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant upload screen - The system will be expanded in coming upgrades, downloaded automatically.

And because it’s artificial intelligence, its capabilities will be consistently enhanced through regular updates via BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud and its functionality will grow over time.

The personal assistant learns driver routines and habits, and applies them in appropriate context. It also learns drivers’ preferences and personal vehicle settings (such as heating/cooling preferences), and preferred destinations.

It will understand context, so if the driver states “Hey BMW, I’m cold,” the personal assistant will adjust the cabin temperature, or “Hey BMW, I want to fuel up,” will call up local service stations in the navigations system. It will get smarter with every command it is given, every question it is asked and every control the driver sets.

BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant - aids drivers with voice controls over vehicle functions, to explain features or just to carry on a conversation.

On the entertainment side, it can identify the song being played or search the music bands for a certain genre of music — “Hey BMW, play Broadway show tunes.”

The system works with the owner’s digital profile (the BMW ID), which links the car to the customer’s digital world. One of the system’s unique features is that it allows the driver to name the personal assistant, so you can name it Alexa or Siri or, yes, Jarvis.

2019 BMW 8 Series coupe

The basic version of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available in 23 languages and markets in March 2019, expanding with more natural voice commands, points of interest search capabilities, and expanded weather and music functions in May 2019 for North America, most of Europe, Brazil, Japan and China.

The system will be offered for vehicles equipped with BMW iDrive 7.0 and as part of the Live Cockpit Professional.