(Pocket-lint) - BMW has outlined that it's ready to push a huge update for BMW Operating System 7, it's latest in-car software. For cars coming direct from the factory - like the new BMW 5 Series - the software will already be installed, but for other compatible vehicles, the update will be available to download directly to the car.
Owners of eligible vehicles have reported that the update has started.
The update leverages BMW Operating System 7's upgradability, delivering on the promise of future updates when that software was first conceived. BMW confirmed that it's about 1GB of data, but it covers a lot of functionality, which we'll run through now.
BMW Digital Key
The BMW Digital Key is supported in Operating System 7, meaning you can use your smartphone to unlock and drive your car rather than having to use the physical key. This function was announced at the Apple developer conference, integrating with Apple CarKey, where your key can be found in the Wallet on your iPhone.
In addition to unlocking and driving, you'll also be able to share digital keys with up to five other drivers, including placing limitations on things like top speed, music volume or accessible power. This functionality has rolled-out for Apple devices too, so you should be good to go.
There's a big change coming to BMW Maps, with the promise that these maps are now faster and that destination finding will improve. Maps is moving to a cloud-based routing system, with BMW detailing how all the connected BMW's on the road can contribute to increasing the data available to prove better routing.
You'll now also get things like business rating, images and opening hours, as the company looks to rival the convenience of Google Maps.
Keen to make sure you can park somewhere, you'll be able to access the Connected Parking feature. This will use data from various sources to provide information on a parking space that's likely to fit your vehicle, while also using historical data to determine whether parking is going to be free or not.
BMW eDrive Zones
Looking to make clean driving easy, support for eDrive Zones will mean that the car can automatically switch to electric driving when you enter a low emission zone. That means you don't have the think about it, the car just makes it happen.
BMW has these zones setup in over 80 European cities.
Wireless Android Auto
Android Auto has been a long time coming in BMW vehicles. BMW was the first to offer wireless Apple CarPlay and it wanted a comparable experience for Android users. With the update to Operating System 7, you'll finally get Android Auto support in your BMW and it will be wireless.
All you'll have to do is get in the car and drop your phone on the pad and the car will switch over to Android Auto, giving you access to all those familiar Android apps. You'll even get turn-by-turn guidance on the driver display and heads-up display when you're using Google Maps.
BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant updates
Along with the update comes a refresh to the Hey BMW system in the car, giving you access to more voice control functions. To start with there's new animations, designed to make it a little more emotive and recognising whether it's the driver or passenger asking the question and adapting accordingly.
The assistant can now control driving modes in the car, so you'll be able to say "Hey BMW, engage Sport mode" without having to press any buttons. You'll also be able to establish routines, for example, setting up particular responses at particular locations, like opening a window when you arrive at a parking garage.
Boosted support for Connected Charging
There's also an expansion of the options when looking for charging options for electric or plug-in hybrid cars. This will allow you to see the availability of chargers and more advance information, so as whether there's a café nearby, as well as configure more controls for charging options.
Future digital personalisation
In addition to all the features being added, BMW is pushing the car as a digital platform, outlining how owners can opt to test and subscribe to additional features, rather than having to specify those things at the point of purchase.
Demonstrating a number of examples, BMW showcased the system saying that some might not want advanced driver assistance features when they buy the car, but might want those services at some point in the future. Having established a sophisticated software platform, BMW is keen to emphasise that some features could then be added remotely.
Some of these features already exist, but it looks like there's going to be greater options to personalise the car in the future, even if you're buying second hand.
The roll-out of this update to BMW Operating System 7 is from July 2020 and we've heard confirmation as of 29 July that the update has started.