BMW has announced details of the world’s first in-car communications centre featuring on-line access. Acting like a newspaper, on-line directory, personal assistant and virtual co-driver all rolled into one, this latest automotive breakthrough from BMW means drivers and their passengers can stay in touch whenever and wherever they go in the UK.
BMW Online will be available from 28 April, 2003 to coincide with the UK launch of new 730d and 760i/Li models. Initially available as an option across the 7 Series range, the system allows drivers and passengers to access news and business information, and to send and receive email without leaving their vehicle.
It uses a dedicated BMW portal which links to selected on-line partners Michelin, The Press Association and D&B (Dun & Bradstreet). As well as access to key data and market information, these partners open up a rich seam of leisure information, including local places of interest, theatres, restaurants, cinemas and weather forecasts.
The package is interactive too, with links from BMW Online to the in-car telephone and GPS satellite navigation. Subscribers can, for example, find a local restaurant and transfer contact details to the in-car phone. After making a reservation, the driver is guided to the front door courtesy of GPS Navigation.
It is activated via the vehicle’s iDrive system, with information and images delivered straight to the car’s on-board monitor. All complete in a push and few clicks of the iDrive controller.
Commenting on the system, BMW Great Britain managing director Jim O’Donnell said, "BMW is a world leader in automotive innovation and we are committed to developing technologies that offer real benefits to our customers. The launch of BMW Online means new 7 Series buyers now have the option of staying in touch whenever they are using their car. This is a truly groundbreaking step forward for in-car communications, matching the ever-increasing demands of our communications age."
BMW Online is the latest innovation in BMW’s ConnectedDrive programme, a concept that is bringing safer and more efficient motoring through a blend of online communication, telematics and driver assistance systems.