BMW iDrive 8 Gets Major Update: New Curved Display, Improved Digital Assistant and More Features!

BMW iDrive 8 Gets Major Update: New Curved Display, Improved Digital Assistant and More Features!
Just recently, BMW has upgraded to the iDrive 8 system to make the user experience better than the iDrive 7. Photo : Lennart Preiss/Getty Images

BMW invented the infotainment system in 2001, with the introduction of the E65-generation 7 series. However, despite its flaws, the automakers deserve credit for inventing the system that is now present in virtually every single car on the market.

Just recently, BMW has upgraded its iDrive system to even better the user experience than the iDrive 7, with enhanced voice-recognition software, a massive touchscreen, and a myriad of new features while preserving the rotary controller.

What Is iDrive in BMW and What Changed in iDrive 8?

According to Car and Driver, the new iDrive 8 infotainment system's release will be added to the BMW's electric models iX SUV and the i4 Sedan automobiles later this 2021. The infotainment system will be a 14.9-inch digital curved display that converges with the 12.3-inch fully digital dashboard on the driver seat.

The new BMW iDrive 8 offers more contextual functionality than its previous iterations, taking external conditions like traffic and road conditions into account before attempting to interact with the vehicle's passengers. Basically, the car will need information from its passengers before anticipating command controls from them.

Also, the iDrive 8 will control functions such as in-car climate conditions, ambient lighting, audio playback, opening and closing of the side windows, shading of the panoramic glass roof, switching between My Modes, and the driver's assistance systems.

The iDrive 8 can determine what sort of climate controls to engage at certain points, at certain times. It can also learn the habits of the driver. So, if it is wintertime, and the driver sets temperatures--such as air, seat, steering wheel, and armrests--at certain temperatures every morning before going for a drive, it will automatically do that for the driver every time it starts the car in the morning.

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Meanwhile, BMW emphasizes dialogue-based interaction and natural voice recognition with iDrive 8. The system's IPA can effectively visualize itself on the displays and even distinguish which passenger it is talking to.

The system's onboard AI, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, will be the driver's primary contact point when interacting with the new iDrive 8. The driver can give a personal name to the IPA and cue-up various in-vehicle functions and information streams using verbal or non-verbal commands.

Self-Learning Navigation on the iDrive 8

According to Auto Express, the navigation system has been updated to what BMW calls "Learning Navigation." As the name implies, the car will predict where the driver may go and works with its more in-depth BMW ID feature.

The Learning Navigation can determine ETAs far more accurately now with the iDrive 8. It no longer uses traffic data and probabilities. It can use points of interest to pinpoint potential traffic patterns, allowing for a far more accurate ETA or even alternative routes.

This passive trick on the car is more useful in the daily commute to the office or grocery store as it warns the driver on what to expect on its daily route for traffic or accidents that may delay the driver's arrival. As such, the system will suggest another route for the driver to take whenever the situation arises.

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