In 2001 the fourth-generation BMW 7 Series was launched, it swept away old habits and refined the cockpit of an ever-increasing number of buttons and controllers. Instead, a colour screen was introduced in the instrument panel and a swivel wheel in the centre console. Named the BMW iDrive, the multifunctional system allows the driver to control a large number of vehicle settings, entertainment, navigation and telecommunication functions with a single operating tool. Also, voice control of various functions was introduced for the first time in the BMW 7 Series.
In 2004, BMW became the first car manufacturer to present a head-up display that projected relevant driving information on the windscreen in the driver's line of sight. And in 2015, BMW took interaction again to a new level when it introduced "Gesture Control", where various hand movements trigger many commands in the car.
In recent times, several car manufacturers have been inspired by BMW's technological solutions. In particular, the swivel wheel in the centre console has found its way to many other car models.
When the BMW iX is launched later this year, it will also take over the role of the technological flagship of BMW. Therefore, the BMW iX will be the first model with the next generation BMW iDrive.
The new operating and infotainment system bridges the gap between analogue and digital technology. Digital intelligence, optimized sensors and cloud-based services for a growing range of real-time data are some of the elements. This means that in many situations the vehicle has access to more information than the driver. For example, the system can receive and display hazard warnings from other BMWs and predict the availability of parking spaces at a destination.
The next-generation BMW iDrive is configured to exploit the potential of an intelligent connected vehicle, where data traffic is more extensive than ever. Therefore, the BMW iX is also the first model from the BMW Group to be ready for 5G. It allows for fast communication, wireless updates and enough computing power for autonomous features. The BMW iX is designed to process 20 times as much data as previous models. This again means that you can process about twice as much data from different vehicle sensors than what has been possible so far.
Central to the next-generation BMW iDrive in the BMW iX is the large "BMW Curved Display", which is composed of a 12.3 "information screen and a 14.9" control screen with touch control. In the centre console, you will find a touch panel, together with the classic swivel wheel for the infotainment system. The user interface for the next generation iDrive has not yet been made known, but the first pictures show some of the graphics that are used.
The first digital key for a BMW was introduced in 2018. BMW is also one of the pioneers in the use of smartphones as a digital car key. In collaboration with Apple, BMW was the first car manufacturer to introduce a digital car key on the iPhone. The car is easily unlocked by holding the iPhone against the sensor in the door handle.
With the BMW iX, the next step is introduced. Now you will be able to unlock and start the car simply and safely without taking the phone out of your bag or pocket. The new generation of this service is based on Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology - a digital radio technology with short bandwidth that is characterized by exceptional precision and high security.
Apple and BMW have worked closely with the industry organization CarConnectivity Consortium to establish a digital key specification for UWB, and once again set a global standard for the automotive industry.
More new details about the BMW iX will be announced in the future. Production will start in Dingolfing, Germany this summer, and the first cars will arrive this autumn.
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