At CES 2024, BMW is showing off new in-car video and gaming offerings, as well as an upcoming artificial-intelligence-powered voice assistant and automated parking functions.
Rear-seat passengers in the current 7 Series equipped with the optional 31-inch Theater Screen can already watch TV on the go. The option includes built-in Amazon Fire TV, which allows for in-vehicle streaming. Now, owners will be able to stream video to the central infotainment screen. Current offerings in the U.S. include Pluto TV, Bloomberg, TED, Yahoo! and Tubi. More options will continue to be added, with video-streaming capability unlocked via over-the-air update in BMW and Mini vehicles equipped with BMW Operating Systems 8.5 and 9 — the current 5 Series and 7 Series and iX, X2, X5, X6, X7 and XM, as well as the complete Mini lineup (BMW is Mini’s parent automaker).
BMW launched its AirConsole app with the 2024 5 Series. The app allows occupants to use their smartphones as video-game controllers for casual games with simple controls and intuitive gameplay, which BMW suggests are ideal for passing the time while, say, waiting for your electric i5 to charge. The next development of this tech, naturally, incorporates actual gaming controllers: Common Bluetooth-enabled controllers can now connect to the BMW infotainment system.
Additionally, the automaker rolled out “Beach Buggy Racing 2,” a game it says is “reminiscent of the major console classics.” Additional games will continue to be added and offered through the BMW ConnectedDrive Store, which can be accessed through vehicles equipped with BMW Operating System 9.
Amazon Alexa Large Language Model
When BMW iDrive first appeared way back in the early 2000s, the point was to reduce driver distraction by simplifying interactions with the car. In 2024, that’s the job of voice control. BMW is working with Amazon to incorporate AI-powered speech recognition and responses into the automaker’s Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The demo being showcased at CES relies on the Amazon Alexa Large Language Model. LLMs are AI programs designed to understand and mimic natural human language patterns. BMW notes that its Intelligent Personal Assistant has been processing speech inputs with AI for years; the goal with Alexa LLM is to enable what BMW describes as “humanlike interactions and dialogs,” which would allow the system to provide “quick instructions and answers about vehicle functions” and expand the range of systems that drivers can control using spoken directions.
Officially, what’s being shown at CES is just a demo “for a potential series rollout,” but BMW also says its Intelligent Personal Assistant “will soon become more powerful over the course of the year,” which points to an imminent launch.
Remote Valet Parking
Back out in the physical world, BMW and supplier Valeo are showing off their next-generation automated parking solution. From a defined drop-off point — imagine by the front door of a busy venue — the system enables the vehicle to prowl the parking lot in search of an available space and maneuver itself into it. The vehicle then would be able to return to the drop-off point when summoned.
BMW envisions this tech as being either fully autonomous or, in complex or unknown settings, remote-controlled. CES attendees can demo the remote-control parking, which uses the vehicle’s live camera images and active-safety system sensors to allow the vehicle to safely navigate its environment