Updating of the apps on your mobilephone can now be easily done ‘over the air’ and for your computer, an online connection can bring you the latest updates for your operating system. Thanks to wireless connectivity being widespread now, over the air (OTA) updates can also be done for the various computerised systems in your car.
For some years now, many manufacturers have started OTA updating which is convenient for customers as it means they do not have to visit a service centre to get the updating done. In many of the latest models, the updates will come periodically and keep the systems running at their best – or even better than when the car was first purchased. It’s great for owners who enjoy the benefit of improvements without having to buy a new car.
BMW, like many other carmakers, has been offering OTA updates to its customers since 2019 and periodically transmits updates to millions of BMW vehicles worldwide. At present, about 4.7 million BMW vehicles are upgradeable, thanks to their hardware and BMW iDrive Operating System. The software upgrades are free and cover systems related to infotainment, driving, driver assistance, comfort and safety (depending on the model and market).
With the start of a new year, the BMW Group is once again updating sending out updates for the software in its vehicles (more than 30 models) with BMW iDrive Operating System 7 and 8. Besides improving key vehicle functions, the updates also introduce new digital features for certain models.
Remote control parking
As a further innovation, the Remote Software Upgrade will introduce the Remote Control Parking function for certain countries and vehicles. It allows customers to perform remote-controlled parking manoeuvres from outside the vehicle using the My BMW App. These are manoeuvres previously recorded in the vehicle with the Manoeuvring Assistant. Customers can also park their vehicle forward or backwards within a radius of 6 metres, both lengthways and crossways.
New functions for BMW Digital Key
A recent update to BMW Digital Vehicle Access allows users to share the BMW Digital Key for their vehicle between Apple iPhones and Android smartphones for the first time. Shared BMW Digital Keys are also easier to activate in the vehicle. With the software upgrade, a BMW Digital Key shared via smartphone can be activated directly in the vehicle by entering an activation code. Previously, a conventional vehicle key had to be located in the passenger compartment.
Additional features and enhancements
Depending on the model, there are also additional features and/or enhancements that add functionality or convenience. For the BMW iX, customers can stop charging and unlock the charging cable lock via the My BMW App. The BMW iX, BMW Active Tourer and BMW X1 with the optional Parking Assistant will receive active steering assistance when reversing with a coupled trailer.
Some models, such as the 7-Series (2022) or the new X1 (2022), will feature the new My Mode ‘Digital Art’ after the upgrade. Owners the X7 (North America) can also look forward to a modern light graphic of the direction indicator.
During updating, which can take around 20 minutes, programming code in the software already in the systems can be modified. There are, of course, security measures to ensure that unauthorised connections and tampering do not take place. Owners can see the software status in the settings menu of their vehicle under Remote Software Upgrade and can search for available upgrades. Only the next possible upgrade is ever offered for installation, and the owner can never install the wrong version.