At the launch event for the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, BMW provided more details on its integration of Android Auto and outlined how over-the-air updates would facilitate it and a range of other automotive technologies.
BMW Australia’s Product Planning Executive, Prabs Datar, told the press that all cars currently running iDrive 7.0 (BMW’s own operating system) would be able to receive the latest upgrades, including Android Auto, via over-the-air updates. Datar told the press that BMW wants “to make sure the infotainment system in the car can be updated without having to take your car to a dealership.” This user-friendly approach extends to the way in which these upgrades can be downloaded and installed, with BMW giving its customers a choice on how they wish to do so. While the updates are downloadable over-the-air via a SIM card, customers can choose to have them downloaded to their phone (via Wi-Fi) at their own convenience and then transferred to the car the next time they drive it. After a short pre-installation period, upgrades will take around 20 minutes to install, during which time the car must be stationary and will not be drivable.
Although the upgrade will bring these features to many models, Datar said that the roll-out will not be automatic for all compatible models. Instead, the upgrade is to be rolled out at a global and local level following comprehensive testing. Explaining this roll-out method, he said: “It’s not instantaneous for everyone. It’s actually VIN by VIN that we initially select the vehicles to send it to.” Interestingly, BMW said that these over-the-air updates will upgrade aspects of the car outside the infotainment system, with speed limit assistant technology used as an example, hinting at a Tesla-like system where a range of new features are enabled through over-the-air updates.
BMW confirmed that there would not be any subscription fee to use the service. It comes after consumer feedback prompted the German automaker to scrap a subscription fee that had previously been implemented for drivers wishing to use Apple CarPlay. BMW are one of the latest luxury car manufacturers in Europe to offer the system across many models, alongside Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
You can find out more about OTA updates here