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January 14, 2021

BMW Shows Off Latest Generation of iDrive

Twenty years have passed since the first generation of BMW iDrive made its debut. Now, BMW is announcing the next chapter in its display and operating system which is set to bring driver-vehicle interaction into a new digital and intelligent age.

In 2001, BMW instigated a paradigm shift that reversed the wave of buttons spreading over car interiors at the time. The BMW iDrive operating system introduced for the first time in the then-new BMW 7 Series in 2001 swept away old habits and purged the cockpit of the growing number of buttons and controls. In their place came a color screen in the instrument panel (the Control Display) and a rotary dial on the center console (the iDrive Controller).

Over a period of just a few years, this innovative principle morphed into the new industry standard. A host of other carmakers adopted the combination of display and controller, as this was the only way to harness the ever-increasing array of functions inside their models.

The next generation of BMW iDrive takes the relationship between a BMW and its driver to a new level. The new system bridges the gap between analog and digital technology. And this, in turn, heralds another paradigm shift, as the number of available functions in a car and their complexity continue along a constant upward curve. Digital intelligence has been introduced into cars, optimized sensors now allowing them to perceive and analyses 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.

This means that, in many situations, the vehicle has access to a greater supply of information than the driver. For example, it can receive and display hazard warnings from other BMW vehicles and make predictions on the availability of parking spaces at a destination. Developments will continue in this direction, presenting the car’s display and operating system with fresh challenges now and in the future. The next-generation BMW iDrive is set up to utilize 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.

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