From Apple's Siri to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, there are now numerous virtual assitants available on the market. In fact, some automakers have already begun adapting these helpful AIs into vehicle infotainment systems, allowing drivers to adjust features with ease. BMW however, has chosen to develop their own in-car voice assistant rather than partnering with any of the already available systems.
Officially called the BMW Intelligent Personal Assitant, the digital character is set to be introduced beginning March 2019 and is part of the BMW Operating System 7.0. The Bavarian automaker claims that their 'personal assistant' will help drivers operate their cars more easily, accessing numerous functions such as air-conditioning, radio and many more simply by speaking. What's more, Intelligent Personal Assitant is also compatible with other AIs such as Alexa and Siri, 'providing a link to other rapidly growing ecosystems'.
BMW's assistant responds to the prompt “Hey, BMW”, but can also be customized based on the owner's preference. The number of features and customization seem endless as drivers can give the assistant a name. It is even advanced enough that talking to the assisant casually would give you responses, similar to the capabilities of Alexa and Siri. Furthermore, one doesn't need to be specific with speaking as well. Simply saying “Hey BMW, I'm cold” would prompt the AI to adjust the temperature inside accordingly.
Aside from the fun and customization, BMW says their personal assistant acts like an everyday co-driver. It can answer questions regarding the vehicle such as oil level, temperatures and even warning messages. Furthermore, it also learns the driver's habits and personal routines, immediately adjusting to the driver's favorite setting. In the future, BMW claims that the assistant would even be able to give fuel-saving driving tips, alert the driver to problems and remind them of service appointments.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available to order on the 3 Series starting November 2018. From March 2019, the new X5, Z4 and 8 Series models fitted with BMW Operating System 7.0 will able to install Intelligent Personal Assistant by remote software upgrade.
In terms of availability, the system will only be available in select markets such as the USA, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Japan and China.