After two decades of its current iDrive system, BMW has now debuted the next chapter of its operating system which is set to transport the driver-vehicle interaction into a new digital and intelligent age. BMW has introduced its next-gen iDrive system at the ongoing CES 2021. This, of course, is an initial preview and it will be officially unveiled later in 2021.
In 2001, when the first iDrive system debuted on the 7-Series, it gave way to a colour screen in the instrument panel (the Control Display) and a rotary dial on the centre console (the iDrive Controller) that purged the cockpit of the growing number of buttons and controls.
This new system allowed drivers to be in control of a large number of vehicle settings, entertainment, navigation and telecommunications functions with a single operating tool. Additionally, the 7-Series also became the first car to have voice control technology, allowing the driver to select functions activated using spoken commands.
Driving subsequently became easier with the new tech as the traditional need to find and engage a different dedicated button in the cockpit for each function was replaced by the ease of keeping their hand in one place on the Controller, which occupied an ergonomically ideal location on the centre console.
These functions in question could be controlled using standard rotary, pressure and shift movements. The driver could view the information on the Control Display which was at eye level; they only needed to divert their gaze from the road for a short moment to check the operating status of systems. A few years following its debut, this tech morphed into the new industry standard, with several other manufacturers following suit.
The upcoming generation of BMW iDrive takes things further ahead. It bridges the gap between analogue and digital technology, defying the increasingly complicated technology that comes in cars these days. The optimised sensors now allow them to perceive and analyse 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.
The next-generation BMW iDrive is set up to utilise the potential of an intelligently connected vehicle more extensively than ever and so make the mobility experience even safer, even more, comfortable and convenient, and even richer in variety.