7 surprising things BMW’s advanced in-car digital assistant can do for you

BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is the most advanced system of its kind, and is far more than just voice-control

SINGAPORE – Intelligent voice control. That’s been the dream for many ever since KITT, the car with an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant was able to fully understand and converse with David Hasselhoff and his wonderfully 1980s hairstyle.

No surprise that it’s BMW which has come closest to making science fiction into more than just fact, but practical, usable reality. 

The new BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is the latest part of BMW Operating System 7.0, the human machine interface, that allows a driver even more integration with his or her ride. 

Debuting on the all-new BMW 3 Series (shown here in the BMW 330i Luxury model), you’ll see that the Intelligent Personal Assistant is clever enough that it almost seems like an AI, given the things it can do for you. 

1. ‘Personal’: It’s really about you

You can activate the Intelligent Personal Assistant by simply saying ‘Hello BMW’, but the activation codeword can be changed. We recommend ‘KITT’, but if your brain is not stuck in the 1980s, it can be anything you like – even other languages. The Intelligent Personal Assistant is also constantly learning your habits and routines, such as favourite places and preferred in-car temperatures, so as time goes on it becomes even more useful to you. 

2. It provides butler-like comfort

Besides driving, what do you do when you’re in a car? Tweak the climate control, find a radio station, link up your phone via Bluetooth, adjust the display settings, fiddle with the ambient lighting…and so on until everything is just nice.

Some voice control systems can do one or two of those things, but the Intelligent Personal Assistant can do everything on that list. You can use it to adjust the climate control temperature (“I’m cold!”) and fan speed (“Change blower speed”), change the colour of the ambient lighting (“Change the ambient light colour”), adjust music sources and equalisation (“I want more bass!”), and more.  

3. You can always ask a BMW Expert for help

BMW cars are wonders of modern technology, even the experts here at CarBuyer need time to learn about all the features onboard. The Intelligent Personal Assistant has all of the information you might want, so you can utilise all these systems to their fullest, or simply to know more about your all-new BMW 3 Series. 

For example, the all-new BMW 3 Series has a novel Reversing Assistant function – it helps you back out of tight spots automatically – and the Intelligent Personal Assistant explains all you need to know about it, such as the speeds it works at, and the limitations of the system.

4. The car can tell you when it needs TLC

One of the coolest things about the Intelligent Personal Assistant is that it gives the car a voice, and it can use that voice to tell you exactly what it needs. If you’re driving along you might see a car broken down and wonder, “Hmm, when’s my next service due?”

The Intelligent Personal Assistant can tell you that. Or you might have gone over a particularly nasty bump and worry about your tyre pressure – Intelligent Personal Assistant can tell you if they’re ok. It can also check the engine oil level, or if there are any warning messages, and even point you to a service centre.

5. You can simply tell the car where you want to go

Hop into the car after a long day at the office and say, “Let’s go home.” The new BMW 3 Series can’t drive itself, but with your command through the Intelligent Personal Assistant, it’ll plan the best route, notify you of any traffic incidents and congestion, and more.

What’s more, if you ever lose your bearings, just say, “I’m lost”, or if you’re running low on fuel, “Guide me to the nearest petrol station”. Need to go somewhere specific? Simply can dictate the address and the Intelligent Personal Assistant will set it as your next destination.

6. It helps you focus on the drive

BMW 3 Series, that can happen pretty often through the sheer fun it delivers to the driver. Intelligent Personal Assistant comes in handy here, since it can help you switch driving modes or bring up the Sport Displays. 

It’s even got some built-in snark: Tell it you’re bored, and it’ll recommend the proper antidote!

7. It has a human touch

Less advanced voice control systems need very specific commands and pronunciations, but the Intelligent Personal Assistant, as you’ve seen, can understand more casual phrases and everyday speech. It also knows not to interrupt: If you pipe up with a command while it’s talking to you, it’ll stop and listen instead. It’s even smart enough to tell who said what: If your passenger says ‘I’m cold’, it will only adjust the temperature on their side, not yours. 

And when the Intelligent Personal Assistant comes up against something it can’t do, it knows to point you in the right direction by recommending you talk to the friendly and helpful people at BMW’s Concierge Service.

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CarBuyer Team
CarBuyer Singapore / CarBuyer.com.sg brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.