2016 has been a busy year for BMW, as it celebrated a century of automotive excellence. And it’s been no less busy for us here at BimmerTech. We’ve continued to develop innovative multimedia retrofits for every BMW lover. We’ve listened to your feedback and brought the features you were looking for to the iDrive. We’ve been doing everything we can to make sure your car is the best it can be.
So what exactly have we been doing these last 12 months?
We showed you the easiest way to code your iDrive
On April 1, we revealed a quick and easy way to code the NBT iDrive system. Our automatic coding procedure made it as simple as plugging a USB stick into the port in your BMW. Within a few minutes, your BMW’s hidden features were unlocked. Who else can do that for you?
We loved looking at amazing photos of your cars
We saw some incredible pictures at the start of May, as you sent in the photos you’d taken for our BimmerTech Photo Contest. Budding photographers were treated to discounts, free gifts and other prizes to take their BMW up a level.
Missed out last time round? Check back in 2017 for the second edition!
We let you mirror your smartphone in your BMW
In June we brought Apple TV to the iDrive display. Our SmartView HD made it possible to enjoy all your favorite Apple TV apps wherever you went. AirPlay technology also let you mirror your iPhone to the iDrive screen in high definition.
At the same time, we made a few technical changes to improve our original SmartView. Wireless smartphone mirroring is now more stable than ever. There’s nothing to stop you using everything iOS and Android has to offer in your car.
We did a load of really clever computer stuff
We modified our custom interface to provide improved image quality and greater functionality. Now our retrofits are even easier to use, and most can be operated through the factory iDrive controller.
We showed even more of you the easiest way to code your iDrive
We’re always looking for ways to let more of you customize your BMWs. Owners of vehicles with NBT iDrives had already seen just how easy iDrive coding could be, but in August, we revealed that our automatic USB coding method was now compatible with the CIC iDrive.
This meant even more of you were able to activate enhanced Bluetooth quickly and easily, enjoy video in motion, or turn off the legal disclaimer in your cars.
We helped CCC iDrive users enjoy everything 2016 had to offer
We didn’t want to see owners of older vehicles missing out on the latest features, so in November, we released VividScreen. Pairing an 8.8” high resolution screen with our custom interface, it’s the ultimate upgrade for the first-generation CCC iDrive system.
Older 3-Series E90/91/92/93, 5-Series E60-61 and 6-Series E63/64 models are now compatible with our range of multimedia retrofits.
We got excited about what we’ll be doing next…
And we’re not done yet. We’ve got even more innovation in the pipeline, to help take your BMW to the next level. Looking to improve your car’s audio system? Or get even more out of your dashboard display?
Watch this space.
…or sign up to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when something great happens.
Automotive technology has come of age. Of course, building advanced features into our vehicles is nothing new. Nor is being captivated by what might come next. Whether it's the freeways of Bel Geddes' Futurama or the impressive array of features KITT showed over four seasons of Knight Rider, cars have a way of capturing our imagination like nothing else can.
photos: https://www.fastcodesign.com/ and http://www.influx.co.uk/
But something's changed.
When BMW says it will produce an autonomous iNext electric car within five years, it's not hope talking. It's expectation. Reality. These aren't utopian dreams any more. They're not neat ideas from sci-fi films we'll spend the next 50 years inching closer towards. This is what we can actually do; BMW is just one of many manufacturers who already offer intelligent cruise control and park assist in a range of production models, the first step towards fully self-driving vehicles.
Automated driving may be the technology that's making the headlines, but there have been many more advances in recent years aimed at improving our in-car experience.
Powered by smartphones
Not so long ago, the only connectivity offered by the typical car's center console was a radio, in one form or another. The development of console command systems like the iDrive, however, is changing the way we think about being in our cars. Whether for entertainment, navigation or vehicle feature control, computers have now established a place for themselves on our dashboards.
For many, though, this computer is actually their smartphone, in a cradle mounted on the dash. And why not? It's not an elegant solution, but it gets all the apps we love into our cars, which in-built console computers often can't match. It's no surprise, then, that increased integration between mobile devices and in-car computers is a top priority.
Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto are two emerging standards that look like revolutionizing what we do behind the wheel. Both will allow us to connect our phones to the head unit in our cars, and use familiar mobile functions and apps. Protocols like AirPlay and Miracast mean wireless streaming and mirroring is also possible for many mobile devices, to replicate the smartphone or tablet screen on the dashboard display in real time.
This is the infrastructure that already lets us combine the power of our smartphones (not to mention their vast app ecosystems) with the convenience of an in-built head unit. As these standards develop, our cars' multimedia capabilities will only increase.
A safer tomorrow
Smartphone integration isn't the only way our cars are becoming more connected, though. Voice recognition, automatic door unlocking and over-the-air software updates are already a reality for many car owners. The capabilities of our cars won't stop there, though.
Several brands used CES 2016 to show off the latest automotive tech. Harman made a splash by revealing a system that can measure a driver's tiredness by monitoring pupil dilation, before communicating with the vehicle's other safety features to adapt to the driver's state. Smart cars are about more than just convenience—safety is a key consideration, too.
Meanwhile, BMW presented an i8 without mirrors. Instead, four cameras installed on the vehicle displayed an image on an LCD screen hanging where a standard rearview mirror would. The rationale, again, was safety; this system gave a clearer view of what was around and behind the car, whilst eliminating blind spots.
Toyota, on the other hand, looked beyond the car itself. It outlined a plan to improve mapping data by collecting information from the cameras and GPS devices in the cars we drive every day. This data will then be used to ensure that their vehicles have an up-to-date picture of the street layout, so automated driving and navigation should be more reliable. Toyota hopes that this 'crowd-sourcing' method will prove more efficient than depending on dedicated mapping vehicles.
As once-rare features like backup cameras and park distance control have since become mainstream, expect to see these advanced options available in more cars in future.
Capability is king
When it comes to automotive technology, the focus was once on performance. The sheer joy of driving. But now, multimedia capabilities and safety features are just as important for many motorists. This will no doubt be a key area for innovation in the coming years.
And how do you feel about it? Do you long for the simpler times when cars were all about the mechanics? Or are you excited about the prospect of driving increasingly intelligent vehicles? Let us know in the comments.
Mod Squad Motorsports, a custom car shop and BimmerTech certified installerh based in Tyrone, GA is capable of doing any work on your car.
When a BMW dealer mistakenly did not order a backup camera for a customer ordered 2016 X1 Kelly @ Mod Squad stepped up to the plate and installed the first ever BimmerTech provided OEM reversing camera kit for the F48 X1. Since it was a “first ever” kind of installation there were small details in the installation that Kelly had to masterfully navigated around. You can check out Mod Squad Motorsports video explaining the installation process.
Now the BMW dealer can deliver this 2016 X1 to his customer in complete specification just as it was ordered. See for yourself how the OEM camera kit works in a second video from Mod Squad.
Visit Mod Squad Motorports on Facebook.
Last month we announced the first BimmerTech Photo Contest. The challenge: to send us a photo of your BMW in a spectacular location. We received so many submissions that it was tough to choose the winners. After much discussion the jury was still gridlocked. Eventually our marketing team took matters into their own hands and made a decision, awarding Malcolm’s photo of his BMW E90 in the Alps, Jay and his BMW X1 on the Australian coast and Gary and his F30 in Hong Kong. The winners received free coding, map updates and great discounts on our products.
Check out some of our other fabulous submissions:
See you next year for the second edition of the BimmerTech Photo Contest!