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BMW Technology of CES 2014

Futuristic bells and whistles connect driver, vehicle and the outside world

Jan 9, 2014
Photographer: BMW
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BMW Technology of CES 2014 Details:

  • New tech falls under company’s ConnectedDrive branch of development
  • ConnectedDrive services include BMW Online for local weather, news & additional Web-based functions
  • i3 owners can stay connected to their car via Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch w/i Remote app
  • Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning, Traffic Jam Assistant, Active Cruise Control, & other systems are products of BMW’s advanced control tech

BMW is using this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, to shine a light on future tech and new applications it has in the pipeline, much of it connectivity based. The new branch of automotive development – dubbed ConnectedDrive by the automaker, and borne from the Technik division in Munich, Germany – focuses on every aspect of the connection between driver, vehicle and the outside world.

Both a 6 Series Gran Coupe and 2 Series are rocking ConnectedDrive bells and whistles at the 2014 CES. Services ConnectedDrive offers include BMW Online, which gives users access to current, localized information such as weather, news, online search and office functions. It’s also possible to put together individualized services such as webcams, parking information and travel or hotel guides.

BMW also brought in one of its new i3 electric subcompacts to show off the Samsung Galaxy Gear with i Remote app, which keeps drivers connected with their i3 at all times through the Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The app works to provide users with the assistance they need outside the car, and makes BMW the world’s first car brand to present vehicle functions on an electronic wristwatch.

The Samsung Galaxy Gear with BMW i Remote offers information on the battery charge and available range of the i3, as well as any departure times that have been inputted. The research application also shows whether the windows, doors and sunroof are closed and allows users to send a navigation destination to the vehicle or adjust the on-board climate – with the option of spoken commands via S Voice, Samsung’s speech recognition assistant.

Other existing tech has been repurposed or expanded, like the cameras BMW puts on its vehicles. Established systems like Lane Departure Warning and traffic sign recognition use the data from those cams to perform, but now visual detection can also be used for the new Collision Warning system, Pedestrian Warning with city braking function, Traffic Jam Assistant, and Active Cruise Control. BMW says cameras are cheaper than, say, installing radar into all of its cars.

Many of these systems came together in BMW’s research prototype vehicle, a semi-autonomous M235i coupe for testing the limits of the company’s advanced control tech, like its new Parking Assistant. The setup uses ultrasound sensors, electronically controlled steering, forward and reverse gears, and braking to take over parallel parking. All the driver has to do is hold down a button activating the new assistance system and make sure the car doesn’t go psycho and kill some unwitting victim.

2014 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe ConnectedDrive side profile Photo 8/12   |   2014 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe ConnectedDrive

The research prototype vehicle raised eyebrows at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier in the week, when BMW drifted the thing sans driver. BMW’s latest autonomous driving-assistant system actively takes part in the driving process, operating the accelerator, steering and brakes fully independent of the driver, even in full oversteer. It’ll even show you the optimal line around a race track, accelerating hard down straights and lining up corner apexes perfectly, begging the question: how far away are we from driver-less race cars?

We’ve seen the future – and it involves robotic cars and the end of the human race as we know it. Look for BMW to be leading the way.

BMW Smartwatch mileage Photo 9/12   |   BMW Smart watch
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Bob Hernandez
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