Since last month, the new BMW 5 Series owners can enjoy in-car gaming as a suspenseful pastime inside their cars. Though the concept isn’t new, BMW claims the collaboration with start-up AirConsole came about in record time in the lap of its innovation incubator BMW Start-Up Garage.
A dedicated app in the curved infotainment system of the new BMW 5 Series makes life on board a little more playful. Easy to start and connect with your smartphone as a controller, the occupants can enjoy one of the fifteen installed games, from karting to kitchen carnage sim. There’s also a multiplayer mode, in case you’re wondering.
Ready for the full line-up
Soon, the gaming option will also be made available on the further line-up of BMW. While the car brand also promises to upgrade the library. The feature is most beneficial on the all-electric i5, where waiting times can be a burden at charging facilities away from fueling stations.
As part of the BMW Start-Up Garage, the integration of AirConsole is the newest fruit from the company’s in-house incubator. The department must accelerate state-of-the-art start-up technologies, but the collaboration respects the third parties’ shares in their company. As digital technology becomes increasingly crucial in the car industry and the war for IT talent rages, these joint projects gain traction.
Twenty start-ups involved
“It was impressive how quickly we could work with the BMW research department due to the BMW Start-Up Garage. This was the only way to get the AirConsole solution for in-car gaming from a prototype to a BMW series feature as quickly as possible,” says Anthony Cliquot, CEO of N-Dream, the company behind AirConsole. The collaboration only took a few months – a “record time”, according to BMW – to materialize into a full-fledged application.
Last year, the BMW Start-Up Garage completed 32 projects in total, originating from 20 start-up companies. Other examples are an automated driving project on the premises of the car manufacturer, where the vehicles move independently from the assembly halls to the logistics area.
Virtual reality gaming
Gaming is set to become an integral part of car design. In-car gaming was introduced by Tesla as an entertainment distraction for its customers to cope with charging times more than a decade ago. Currently, the company offers the platform Steam in its X and S model, making thousands of games accessible to American owners.
Audi stepped into next-level gaming at the beginning of this year, offering Holoride on selected models exclusively in its home country. Holoride is a cutting-edge add-on package based on VR glasses, creating a virtual gaming experience related to the immediate surroundings of the driving car. As this transforms the real world into a gaming environment, it is clear we haven’t seen the last bit of in-car entertainment.