“Hey Google!” appears to have more competition as BMW follows the lead of Mercedes-Benz, Ford and other automakers by making an AI-enabled assistant available in its vehicles with a simple call out: “Hey BMW!”
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is a new proprietary in-car AI assistant that uses an always on-call technology platform. It is an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW” and has the ability to control vehicle settings, navigation and entertainment systems as well as explain vehicle functions and even conducting a conversation.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will debut in 2019 and mark the start of a new era in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information through voice control, the automaker noted.
BMW isn’t the first automaker to offer this kind of in-car digital concierge-style service. The German automaker’s primary rival, Mercedes-Benz, debuted its system earlier this year in the A-Class.
(“Hey Mercedes! Let’s you have a conversation with your A-Class. Click Here for the story.)
Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. MBUX operates more like a smartphone system and adds voice controls that can handle far more familiar commands, much like Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. It adds a number of features specifically programmed for EV owners, including the ability to quickly find nearby charging stations.
It also starts up with a familiar refrain, “Hey Mercedes!”
Of course, Alexa, Amazon’s personal assistant, is available in several brands, including Ford, Toyota, Lexus and Hyundai. Mercedes and BMW also made use of the Google-based system until developing their own versions.
A motorist can ask Alexa to play music, order a cup of coffee from a nearby Starbuck’s, or operate various home automation devices, turning up the thermostat or turning on the lights at home, for example.
(Click Here for more about Toyota connecting with Alexa.)
BMW’s new service will be able to offer that functionality in the near future. It will also be available when the driver isn’t behind the wheel through the use of a smart speaker or smart phone. What’s more, it will be compatible with other digital voice assistants, allowing BMW owners to link to other systems they may already be using.
Thanks to the link-up with BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud and the use of artificial intelligence, the personal assistant’s capabilities will be consistently enhanced and grow with the user over time. Regular updates will keep expanding the range of functions and skills available, the company notes.
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“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.
The system is capable of learning so as time goes on, it will be able to assist the driver without specific, drawn out instructions. For example, if the driver says, “Hey BMW! I’m cold,” the system can raise the interior temperature of the vehicle to a more comfortable level based on the driver’s past habits.
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The Intelligent Personal Assistant will become available in a basic version in 23 languages and markets in March 2019. In the US, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Japan and (beginning in May 2019) China, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will feature more natural voice control along with further intelligent functions such as Point of Interest Search, Weather and Music, for example.