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BMW Updates ConnectedDrive System With New Navigation and Mobile Office Features

July 19, 2012

A new ConnectedDrive menu screen.
A new ConnectedDrive menu screen.

WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ – BMW provided details on its updates to its ConnectedDrive infotainment system, such as updates to its displays, a next-generation navigation system, and new office and multimedia features.

This new system will appear in the 2013 BMW 5 Series, 5 Series Gran Turismo, 7 Series models, and new BMW ActiveHybrid 3, with other models to follow, according to the automaker.

Starting with navigation, ConnectedDrive now features a view that displays 3D city models of buildings and streets. Another feature is called a “High Guiding” route guidance function, which displays detailed navigation information in the instrument cluster display. This feature automatically comes on when the vehicle comes into the range of the next navigation instruction point. The system also features a new toolbar that allows a user to customize map contents, for example calling up a real-time traffic (called Advanced Real Time Traffic Information, or ARTTI) display on the map. A user can move the map display with the iDrive Controller as well.

The overall system in a late-model BMW dash.
The overall system in a late-model BMW dash.

The new version of ConnectedDrive also features new office functions, which BMW calls the ConnectedDrive Mobile Office portfolio. A user can connect two different phones to the vehicle at the same time. Contact details from each phone are shown in a combined list. Calendar and contact information can be imported quickly, and the calendar from an integrated smartphone is now displayed with a new look that’s designed to be easy to use. Another new set of functions in the Mobile Office portfolio includes improved voice recognition, dictation, and a voice memo system. The multilingual dictation function can currently recognize text read out in six languages, according to BMW. ConnectedDrive’s speech recognition technology is supplied by the company Nuance under the name Dragon Drive! Messaging.

In the U.S., the dictation function is incorporated into BMW Assist and is part of the available Convenience Plan, which is available as an upgrade from the standard Safety Plan. The Convenience Plan includes features such as BMW Online, concierge services and Critical Calling. Concierge contacts a live “response specialist” who can help make reservations for and provide information about restaurants, flights, hotels, and movies, and do traffic condition research. The Critical Calling feature allows the subscriber to make up to four operator-assisted calls per year from car. BMW Online allows online gives access to fuel prices, news, weather conditions and forecasts, the latest DOW, S&P 500 and NASDAQ indices from Bloomberg, and the Google Maps’ database on the vehicle’s Control Display.

The ConnectedDrive system also features a new level of Internet connectivity with the BMW LTE Car Hotspot, available in 2013 in the U.S. An LTE-capable SIM card is required to use the hotspot. A standard USB power supply unit enables autonomous use without the need for the vehicle or a battery. The BMW LTE Car Hotspot fits into any BMW center console with a phone base plate, according to the company.

The iDrive controller.
The iDrive controller.

The BMW iDrive Touch Controller features a multi-touch touchpad, allow characters to be entered with the touch of a finger, and lets drivers navigate in maps, for example zooming in and out.

One more feature is use of BMW Apps, which can be accessed via BMW’s on-board control and display. Current apps include online streaming music services Pandora and MOG. Later this year, users will be able access to the Stitcher online radio app.

Updated 7/19/5:31, added vehicle models.

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