The in-car digital experience of both the present day and the future is the dominant theme of the BMW Group’s presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 in Las Vegas, U.S.
New infotainment products for the current BMW model portfolio will be shown at the event. At the same time, the BMW Group is demonstrating innovative development projects that offer a glimpse into the future.
Visitors can teleoperate a BMW iX and guide it around the Silver Lot on the exhibition site, discover as a passenger the potential offered by augmented reality glasses during a journey, and experience a new generative AI capability of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant powered by the Alexa large language model (LLM), enabling quick answers and how-to responses on vehicle features.
“BMW is synonymous with both the ultimate driving machine and the ultimate digital experience,” says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management responsible for BMW Group Development.
“At the CES, we show more content, customization, and gaming. This is all underpinned by our powerful, in-house developed BMW Operating System. And we will take a look to the future, of course, with perfectly integrated augmented reality and strong, reliable artificial intelligence at the interaction between human and machine.”
The optional ‘BMW Digital Premium’ offering allows BMW customers with BMW Operating System 9 to access an extended range of products from the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. As well as on-demand functions for the vehicle, the store also offers an ever-evolving selection of third-party apps in the categories of music & audio, news & magazines, and gaming for the infotainment system.
More games are now being made available via this channel for in-car enjoyment. And occupants will also be able to play using proper gaming controllers in the future. BMW is presenting this new form of gaming experience for the first time at CES 2024. The controller link-up will be made available over the air for BMW Operating System 9 in 2024.
BMW Digital Premium is optionally available for models with BMW Operating System 9. It allows customers to enjoy in-car use of all the apps available in their country, as well as covering the necessary data usage. The package offers more besides, including enhanced navigation functions and added customization options.
Augmented Reality glasses
The CES show also sees the BMW Group demonstrate for the first time how augmented reality (AR) glasses are set to enrich the driving experience in the future. Visitors can test the possible uses of AR glasses for themselves on a drive through Las Vegas.
Wearing the glasses, they can see how navigation instructions, hazard warnings, entertainment content, information on charging stations, and supporting visualizations in parking situations are embedded into the real-world environment by the ‘XREAL Air 2’.
The BMW engineers, together with their development partners, have now shown stable augmented reality and mixed reality content to passengers in a dynamically moving vehicle for the first time. The displayed image remains securely embedded in the environment even in challenging driving situations, such as when turning, driving over large bumps, or accelerating. To achieve this, the tracking system of the AR/MR device in question has to be linked to the vehicle’s sensor data.
“Thanks to the recent research collaborations with Meta Reality Labs and XREAL, we have made considerable progress in our preparations for integrating external XR devices into our driving experience in production models,” says Peter Lehnert, Vice President Research, New Technologies and Innovations Digital Car at the BMW Group. “We are proud to lead the way here and are well prepared to offer our customers breathtaking XR experiences in the future.”
At CES, the BMW Group and Amazon also showcase voice assistant LLM (Large Language Model) capabilities based on a current development project that the companies are working on in preparation for a potential series rollout.
This makes the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant the ultimate vehicle expert thanks to generative AI that is powered by the Alexa LLM. At CES, visitors experience how the voice assistant provides quick instructions and answers about vehicle functions in a much more human, conversation-like manner, while at the same time being able to control some vehicle functions.
Leveraging Amazon’s Alexa Custom Assistant – a solution that is based on Alexa technology and enables companies to create their own customized voice assistant – the next generation of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will soon become more powerful over the course of the year in vehicles with BMW Operating System 9.
Automated Valet Parking
The BMW Group and Valeo have entered a strategic partnership to work on the joint development of next-generation automated Level 4 parking solutions. This includes the development of solutions for automated valet parking (AVP).
Here, the customer leaves his vehicle in a designated drop-off area. The vehicle then searches for a vacant parking space itself, maneuvers into the space and later exits it again, and can even drive back to the pick-up area for collection by the driver. Either an autonomous driving system or a teleoperated valet system can be used as the underlying technology for this.
CES 2024 visitors will have the opportunity to try out teleoperated valet parking for themselves. Teleoperation offers complete control in situations that could be very challenging for fully autonomous systems, such as in complex or unfamiliar environments. Possible future applications for this technology could include parking at events, at airports, or in the logistics sector.