BMW modernises its user interface

BMW modernises its user interface

News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

With a new homescreen and smartphone-like operation on the central display, BMW is adapting the iDrive user interface of its cars to the latest technology in consumer electronics.

A new graphic interface and an optimised operating structure are two elements with which BMW wants to better align its IDrive to operation via touch display and natural language. A Curved Display continues to serve as the action surface for the multi-sensory experience through iDrive.

The new version of the user interface is to be gradually introduced into the current series models over the course of the year. In this generation, the entry screen on the Curved Display becomes the permanently visible user interface. By default, the map view of the navigation system is set; alternatively, other individually configurable displays can be permanently shown there. With the new iDrive generation, BMW’s UX designers follow a “zero layer” principle. This means that all relevant functions and information are displayed on a single layer. The annoying – and possibly dangerous while driving – dive into a submenu when calling up a desired function is to be eliminated.

Instead, vertically arranged function icons, so-called live widgets, which can be selected and individually configured with a swipe movement, are available on the driver’s side of the user interface. With the  access “QuickSelect”, direct selection of the most important functions (entertainment programmes, contact lists and vehicle settings as well as interaction with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant) is possible by touch. Once the settings have been made, a touch of the finger is all that is needed to return to the home screen.

The handling of the BMW iDrive is thus oriented towards the current habits of users familiar from the use of consumer electronics devices. Thanks to the new, flat menu structure, activating a function or setting is quicker and easier. At the same time, the system makes a significant contribution to enriching the driving experience in a BMW.

The new BMW iDrive with QuickSelect function is a further development of the BMW Operating System 8 used in current models and is based on the latest generations of infotainment head units, which are responsible for graphics calculation, among other things.

All BMW mid-range, luxury and luxury-class model series will also gradually use the new BMW Operating System 8.5, which is based on Linux and combined with the largest version of the BMW Curved Display. For the digital experience on the specific BMW Curved Display of the compact class models, BMW plans to develop its likewise new Operating System 9 based on Android Open Source.

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