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March 16, 2021

BMW's Newest iDrive is All About Screens and Machine Learning

BMW is showing off the newest version of its man-machine interface, the iDrive 8—an operating system that promises a deeper level of customization and integration, while serving as a smarter, more natural partner in any situation. The system will be rolled out across vehicle classes starting with the BMW iX and the BMW i4.

The new iDrive is multi-sensory. Aside from using traditional touch operation, it will also use dialogue-based interaction using natural language, and will learn and adapt to its occupants.

The most distinct new addition in iDrive 8 is the BMW Curved Display which combines both the 12.3-inch information and 14.9-inch control display. It’s angled towards the driver for improved ergonomics, and makes use of touch controls. The screen is decidedly high-definition with a display of 200 ppi (pixels per inch), and contains new eye-catching graphics.

Meanwhile, the number of buttons and switches has been reduced by almost half. Yet, control clusters for relevant and frequently used basic functions are retained where occupants expect to find them. The familiar iDrive Controller is the central control element on the center console.

Individualization is also a strong suit of the iDrive 8. Drivers can switch between three layout types, and can vary the different widgets according to personal preference.

The new BMW iDrive constantly processes a large quantity of self-generated data too. It can then use this data to recognize repetitive situations, learn from them, and provides suggestions on how functions can be activated accordingly.

For example, it can set an ideal climate control configuration based on real-world information across all of BMW’s model classes and global markets. Besides fan speed (airflow) and air distribution, the intelligent automatic climate control also regulates heating, while making it as energy efficient as possible. It also takes into account the number of occupants, where they are sitting, and the intensity and direction of the sunlight.

It will also come with Remote Software Upgrade allowing the BMW operating system to benefit from regular over-the-air improvements, integrate additional functions, and stay up to date at all times.

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