BMW ConnectedDrive provides drivers with a variety of services and apps for in-vehicle entertainment, information and safety. As the name suggests, the system is rooted in connectivity and, working with Deutsche Telekom, BMW is bumping up those capabilities to include high-speed LTE, a Wi-Fi hotspot and the new eSIM.
eSIM technology is being touted as a replacement for the traditional SIM card that's at the heart of your smartphone. It's used to establish a high-speed LTE connection inside the vehicle. This, in turn, powers a password-protected Wi-Fi hotspot that can provide internet access for up to 10 devices. A a result, all occupants of a vehicle can view separate content on their separate devices.
The LTE connectivity will also be used by BMW Motorrad to offer motorcycles with a mobile phone module. The technology will primarily be used to provide information to bikers, such as early warning alerts of upcoming traffic jams.
In addition, BMW Motorrad is set to introduce an eCall system (Intelligent Emergency Call). The feature, which already exists in some BMW cars, automatically connects and sends essential information to a BMW call center in the event of an accident, from where the emergency services can be contacted if necessary. A voice connection is also established so that the rider can, if possible, provide further info.
BMW has previously worked with Deutsche Telekom to develop a SmartHome app. The app has been available as part of BMW ConnectedDrive since 2015 and allows users to control their house lights and heating, among other things.
The Wi-Fi hotspot feature was first implemented in the BMW 7 Series in October 2015 and is rolling out across the BMW model range more widely from this month. The eCall system will roll out next year.