BMW

BMW to bring own Alexa-style voice assistant to cars for climate control, music and more

'Hey BMW, I'm cold - please turn up the heating'

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As more car manufacturers begin to adopt voice assistant like Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant - plus Siri integration through Apple CarPlay - BMW has decided to go its own way.

The German car giant has opted to develop its own voice assistant, which drivers can ask to adjust the heating, switch on the air conditioning, set the satellite navigation, and play music.

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The assistant will also react when the driver expresses their mood. For example, if you say: "Hey BMW, I'm tired", the car will adjust the temperature, music and ambient lighting to help you feel more awake.

Drivers can also ask the assistant about how certain features of their car work, and check statuses like oil level and the meaning of any error messages showing on the dashboard. On a similar theme, the assistant will alert drivers if tire pressures are low, share tips on driving more economically to save fuel, and help arrange appointments at the local dealership for a service.

If drivers give the assistant access to their smartphone calendar, the car will give updates on when you should leave to arrive at appointments on time, given current local traffic conditions.

The assistant will be available in new models from March 2019, and will launch in 23 languages across the US, UK, Europe and Japan, with support for Chinese coming in May.

BMW says the in-car assistant will also be available elsewhere, via smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, so it can be interacted with away from the car. The assistant's abilities will be "constantly expanded as part of regular updates," BMW said.

The assistant become familiar with your routines and driving habits, meaning you can say "take my home" and the assistant will know where to navigate to, based on your most commonly visited destination.

Instead of saying "Hey BMW", drivers can name the assistant whatever they like, unlike rivals like Alexa and Siri. In a bid to add more character, the assistant can provide answers to non-car questions, such as "what is the meaning of life?".

Telling the assistant you are tired "triggers a vitality programme that adjusts the lighting mood, music and temperature, among other things, in order to make the driver feel more awake," BMW says.

"BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant teams up with the new BMW Operating System 7.0 to create a brand new, digital form of interaction with the customer's BMW that redefines the whole driving experience," said Dieter May, senior vice president of BMW's Digital Products division.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa


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