Smart Car, Smart Phone, Smart Driver

BMW had been trying to integrate the Apple iPod into its cars since 2004, subsequently introducing a number of mobile applications for in-car use. Today, their integration between smartphone, car and driver has become more intelligent, smart and comprehensive. The integration establishes connectivity between car and driver, without needing to lift the hands from the steering wheel; the car operates on verbal instructions from the driver. It all boils down to the little built-in SIM card installed, which BMW calls ConnectedDrive services.

The driver can make phone calls, turn on the radio and search for destinations with two simple actions: press the button on the steering wheel and start giving verbal instructions. The 3G SIM and phone module integrated in the car will contact the 24-hour call center and receive feedback in a split second. The driver can receive updated information on a central screen, such as news, weather and stocks. For safety reason, this feature is disabled once the car starts to move.

There is also an emergency call function, which enables the center to locate accidents and send assistance; should the vehicle break down, the specific faulty parts will be reported to obtain targeted assistance.

The Eco PRO Analyzer evaluates the driver’s driving styles to help cultivate fuel-efficiency, with attention on the acceleration, brake and shift processes. Features that all drivers will delight in are the parking location indicator as well as car retrieval route guide. The driver can remotely activate the car horn, flashlight or door locking system from anywhere as well.

ConnectedDrive is now available in 11 countries. In China, BMW ConnectedDrive was set up in Shanghai in 2012, allowing the company to learn more about the Chinese consumers’ behavior. It led to some amazing features in the local BMW ConnectedDrive cars: apps targeted to Chinese smartphones including social networking sites such as Sina, Weibo and Kaixin. A new multi-lingual voice control system was introduced, with the ability to recognise Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

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