BMW rolls out ConnectedDrive 2012

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Automakers around the world are making a concerted effort to add new and interesting infotainment systems to their respective vehicles.

Many of these infotainment systems seek to integrate or leverage smartphones for Internet access and other connected technology. For example, BMW recently rolled out its ConnectedDrive infotainment system which uses advanced navigation tech developed by the auto manufacturer.

The system boasts slick navigation interfaces rendered entirely in 3D, along with a modified display and control concept.

ConnectedDrive also supports dictation with full speech recognition, a platform powered by Dragon Drive from Nuance. This allows both driver and passengers to easily compose text messages or e-mails via voice.

Another feature offered by the ConnectedDrive infotainment system is the revamped BMW iDrive Touch Controller powered by a versatile touchpad - which co-exists alongside traditional BMW controls.

The touch-sensitive area appears to be on top of the knob controller and is designed to allow characters to be entered by tracing them with the finger, allowing the driver to navigate a map or website and zoom in on certain areas. The new iDrive Touch controller will initially be available in the Chinese market starting this July and should hit other countries sometime in 2013.

BMW is also touting its new LTE Car Hotspot designed to bring next-generation mobile Internet connectivity to its vehicles. The infotainment system is powered by a 1.3 GHz processor and boasts a dedicated 3D graphics chip for quality animation and dynamic transitions as well as support for full 3D graphics.

Nevertheless, BMW has (deliberately) managed to retain the intuitive feel of its "classic" menu navigation while implementing new features such as Hi Guide, which automatically streams relevant instructions on the Head-Up Display and the vehicle's central information display. Other functions of the upgraded system include the ability to connect two phones at once and a revamped calendar.