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BMW Hopes to Stay Connected With Consumers in a New Digital Era

Automaker unveils new technology, services, to enhance revenues, boost loyalty.

by on Jul.13, 2017

BMW's iDrive helped to start the use of digital technologies in cars more than a decade ago.

Where buyers once measured the value of a vehicle in terms of its horsepower, many motorists today are more interested in the high-tech features that a car offers. And that shift is likely to continue, especially in an era when car-sharing and autonomous technologies transform the way people travel and buy cars, said Dieter May, the head of digital products and services for BMW AG.

The automaker was one of the first to begin introducing digital technologies into the cabin with the debut of its iDrive system on the 2001 BMW 7 Series sedan. Initially seen as a way to minimize the number of buttons and knobs in the cabin, the iDrive has now become just one of the ways to access and control various vehicle functions and services.

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On Thursday, BMW officially announced plans to upgrade its suite of features, renaming its service BMW Connected +. These include such things as the ability to stream audio from services like Spotify to in-car security systems that can call for help after a crash. The Bavarian automaker is also getting ready to offer over-the-air, or OTA, updates, that will let it download software updates for in-vehicle technologies that, until now, required a motorist to go to a dealer to have installed. (more…)

Legislation, Not Technology, Key Obstacle to Autonomous Driving, Warns BMW Board Member

German maker wants to combine battery power, autonomous tech in future products.

by on Mar.28, 2016

The BMW Vision shows its flexible body panels, forward and rear gullwing doors and living room-like cabin.

While some automakers hope to have their first autonomous vehicles in production by 2020 – and perhaps even sooner – the BMW board member in charge of global sales thinks that is far too optimistic.

The reality is “probably 2025 or beyond,” cautioned BMW veteran Ian Robertson. “The technology will be there before the legislation is there,” Robertson said, during an interview with TheDetroitBureau.com.

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The Bavarian automaker, best known for its sporty and high-performance cars and light trucks, has also been a long-time proponent of autonomous vehicles, its senior executives first discussing the concept of self-driving technology before the turn of the millennium. (more…)