BMW develops software platform, data capabilities, and car connectivity

02 May 2022

automotive technology

BMW is pushing forward with new automotive technology. The German carmaker has acquired a stake in software company Kinexon, signed a multi-year data agreement with Here Technologies, and advanced car-to-home connectivity with voice commands.

These announcements follow the unveiling of the new BMW 7-Series. Available with all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or combustion-engine drivetrains, the luxury sedan was designed with digitisation in mind. It offers the latest operating system 8, curved screen, interaction bar, intelligent assistant, head-up display, and augmented-view functionality. Meanwhile, passengers in the rear of the car can enjoy a theatre experience with a fold-down 31.3-inch panoramic display.  

Automotive technology acquisition

BMW has acquired a minority stake in the Munich-based software company Kinexon. The pair previously worked on digitising the carmaker’s production network, which involved developing the IPS-i software platform.

The manufacturing process is made up of an enormous number of both literal and figurative moving parts. Building a vehicle requires all the required components to be in the right place at the right time, alongside all the right tools.

Since 2017, BMW has employed the IPS-i software platform to record a wide variety of position data (RFID, UWB, RTLS, GPS) which is transferred to a digital twin. The software can then virtually recognise, observe, and automate a variety of manufacturing and logistics processes.

‘The real-time locating platform IPS-i forms the backbone for fully digitalising our production. It is an innovative operating system that makes our highly complex manufacturing processes transparent and raises efficiency in production even further,’ said Milan Nedeljković, board member for production at BMW. ‘We are now intensifying our well-established, long-standing partnership with Kinexon by acquiring a stake in them.’

Real-time traffic information

Outside of the factory gates, BMW has linked up with Here to power its connected navigation services with real-time traffic information. The multi-year agreement will keep drivers in over 70 countries informed of road conditions and collisions, with lane-level precision and auto re-rerouting capabilities. BMW drivers can also use predictive traffic forecasts to plan trips on the carmaker’s app before their journey.

‘Providing a precise ETA based on historic and predicted traffic conditions is a crucial part of today and tomorrow’s driving experience,’ said Gino Ferru, senior vice president and general manager EMEAR at Here Technologies. ‘Here Real-Time Traffic is a critical component of our comprehensive portfolio of automotive solutions to serve the future of electric, connected and automated driving.’

Here aggregates and analyses real-time traffic information from billions of data points using a range of sources including high-quality vehicle-sensor data across numerous brands.

BMW’s car connectivity

While out on the road, drivers may wonder if they locked the front door to their house. Instead of turning around, they can simply ask Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant, without even needing to press a button.

This is thanks to the new operating system 8, allowing i4 drivers to communicate better with their Bosch Smart Home. For example, with Apple’s HomeKit and CarPlay, lights and temperatures can be adjusted, and the status of doors and windows can be checked.

‘We are pleased to have the option of Apple CarPlay control via Siri,’ said Christian Thess, managing director of Bosch Smart Home. ‘BMW drivers can thus conveniently access their homes using familiar voice commands and easily ensure a higher level of security and sustainability in their own homes while on the move.’