BMW will show off the latest iteration of its iDrive infotainment system at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The announcement also marks 20 years of the iDrive system.
The new iDrive system follows the current Operating System 7 software. Reading between the lines of BMW’s press release, it sounds like the next iDrive is going to leverage more data and more sensors. It’s a trend that is sweeping infotainment systems across the industry. Adding sensors and data makes these systems more useful when merged with some level of artificial intelligence.
“Digital intelligence has been introduced into cars, optimized sensors now allowing them to perceive and analyze their surroundings. As a result, elements of driving and parking can be automated to an increasing degree. And cloud-based services dip into a growing pool of real-time data,” BMW stated in a release.
Expect the new iDrive to have significant amounts of data around hazards. This data will help inform automated driving functions, while a cleaner user interface will make them all easier to use.
BMW first introduced iDrive on the 2001 BMW 7-Series sedan. In its early years the system was lauded as overly-complex and not so user friendly. Over time BMW has evolved the system to be one of the better infotainment systems on the market. BMW is joining rival Mercedes-Benz in leveraging this year’s virtual CES to introduce their latest infotainment system.
It’s also worth a callout that BMW is debuting its newest infotainment system in an electric vehicle, just like Mercedes. The days of the German flagship sedans being technology beacons are clearly behind us in the EV era.