BMW 7 ConnectedDrive: The new benchmark for infotainment, convenience and safety.







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: May 25, 2012
Categories: BMW, BMW 7 Series

BMW ConnectedDrive once again demonstrates its technical superiority while highlighting the innovative prowess of the BMW 7 Series with a range of new functions and a matchless combination of driver assistance systems and mobility services.

BMW 7 Series

The intelligent link-up between driver, car and the outside world maximises in-vehicle convenience, infotainment and safety, with an extensive portfolio of features including several new highlights that serve to further strengthen the BMW 7 Series’ claim to top spot in the luxury segment:

  • The latest generation of the Professional navigation system: more powerful than ever and boasting numerous new functions, the top-of-the-range navigation system is now even better than before. Full 3D menu displays, a dictation function for emails and text messages, sending of voice memos by email, interactive map functions (PIE menu) and the simultaneous coupling of two phones are just some of the stand-out features that distinguish the latest-generation navigation systems.
  • The optional multifunctional instrument cluster display with a range of instrumentation graphics makes for an entirely new display experience with novel ways of conveying driving-relevant information.
  • Innovative driver assistance systems: safety is now enhanced by the new BMW Night Vision + Dynamic Light Spot and the anti-dazzle LED High-Beam Assistant. Also available are Driving Assistant Plus with ACC
    Stop & Go function and Active Protection with Attentiveness assistant, as well as the Speed Limit Info including No Passing Info display using road sign symbols in the instrument cluster or Head-Up Display. Rounding off the highlights of the BMW 7 Series are the BMW Parking Assistant that facilitates parking parallel to the road and an innovative Comfort Access function allowing hands-free opening of the boot lid.

New-generation Professional navigation system: display and control in the third dimension.

The latest-generation Professional navigation system is compelling at first glance for its revised design and honed operating system. The tried-and-tested menu navigation has been consciously retained and augmented by further functions. The user interface has benefited from a complete graphic revision and now comprises 3D elements exclusively, while the entire architecture of the individual menus is now presented in virtual, three-dimensional spaces. Thanks to its 1.3 GHz processor and dedicated 3D graphics card, using the system with its high-quality animations and dynamic transitions is an experience, supported by imagery boasting unprecedented levels of contrast and brilliance.

Added functions instantly to hand.

Along with the menu presentation, the navigation displays have likewise been revised and enhanced. The map displays and guidance information are now depicted with even greater brilliance and sharpness than before.

Additional function bars, moreover, allow the map view to be customised quickly and simply without having to leave the map: the new function bars are superimposed as an extension of the original map bar and open up further options. This allows for Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) (not available in South Africa) or weather updates to be superimposed, POIs to be displayed, or the map to be rapidly switched from top view to perspective view. Standardisation of the control bars in the multimedia sphere facilitates operation of a wide range of audio sources.

BMW-7 Series Rear

The PIE menu: greater operating convenience at a click.

The interactive map view also comes with the option of selecting special functions directly from the map: using the iDrive Controller, the driver can mark a spot in the interactive map to open the PIE menu. This radial menu offers quick and easy access to a host of options.

Depending on the information stored, the driver can have POIs in the area flagged up, read up on any stored details, start navigation to any of the points, alter the map view and have the current location or destination displayed. If further information on a POI – e.g. telephone number, online data or email address – is also stored, the driver can instantly access these and make a call, visit the homepage or compose an email.

Split-screen display with more detailed guidance views.

The split screen in the central information display likewise comes with added functions. To facilitate the driver’s orientation while entering the destination by selecting the country, city and road, the chosen location is additionally displayed in the map view on the split screen. If required, the zoom function can be used to verify whether the destination shown in the relevant section of the map is the intended one.

For the navigation process itself, the familiar low-level guidance via arrows in the split screen has now been joined by a high-level guidance variant. This is automatically activated when the driver reaches a certain point ahead of the next navigation instruction. From a specified distance, which varies according to the category of road, the arrow display turns into a schematic, perspectival view of the surroundings, offering the driver even better orientation thanks to its enhanced depiction of the location and precise lane guiding. For an optimal picture, the perspective view changes in stages to a top view of the junction or intersection as the vehicle approaches it, while a dynamic vehicle indicator pinpoints the car’s current position.

Then there is the 3D city model option that offers an impressive view to aid navigation. If the relevant representation of the city is stored in the car, a highly realistic depiction of the surrounding streets and houses makes it easier for the driver to find his way around.

The mobile office: dictation function, voice memos and voice control.

The latest-generation Professional navigation system features a full speech recognition function and optimised voice control system to complete the portfolio of office functions offered by Connected Drive as BMW further extends its innovative lead on this front as well.

Thanks to the full speech recognition system, the dictation function gives drivers the opportunity, for the first time, to dictate text freely and compose short text-based messages simply by saying what they wish to write. Just a few seconds after dictation has been completed, the transcribed text appears in the display and can be read out if desired. As you would expect, drivers also have a number of simple-to-use, speech-based editing tools available to them for putting the final touches to e-mails and SMS messages easily and, most importantly, safely. The multilingual system can recognise six languages.

A further speech-based option to enhance office functionality is voice memos which can be sent directly by email if required. The great advantage to the motorist is the ability to swiftly store ideas or to-do items and send them to the relevant addressee(s) – without being distracted from what’s happening on the road. The recorded memos can be stored on a USB stick for use outside the car.

Following the pattern of entering a destination with a single voice command, the optimised voice control feature of the Professional navigation system now allows all menu functions to be called up through simplified voice commands. If you want to make a phone call, for example, all you need to say is “Call Joe Bloggs.”

The system recognises that you wish to make a call and, after asking for verification of the number, makes the connection. A further advantage is the system’s ability to recognise contact data irrespective of the format in which they are stored, and thus independently of first name and surname order. What’s more, all submenu functions can now be activated or actions specified by speech input – from adjusting the radio and entering a destination to changing the route criteria. Voice control is becoming even simpler and easier to use.

Rounding off the new office functions is the further enhanced facility for simultaneously coupling two phones to the car at. The contact data of both phones are transferred to a shared list which is then available for making phone calls and sending emails. High-performance hardware means that calendar and contact information is displayed without delay, ensuring that both telephones are quickly ready for wide-ranging use in the vehicle.

The multifunctional instrument cluster display.

In place of the classic instrument cluster in which four circular analogue dials inform the driver of speed, rpm, tank level and oil temperature, the new BMW 7 Series now offers, for the first time, the option of a multifunctional instrument display. The basic layout with four circular dials is retained, while a virtually invisible 10.25-inch integrated screen provides an entirely novel and engaging display experience that deliberately evokes modern electronic devices. It allows the driving experience modes COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO to be individually shown, for example. In addition to colour differentiation, the information content of the instruments is also varied according to the driving mode selected, thus presenting the driver with a display that is optimally adapted to the situation at hand.

BMW Night Vision:

early pedestrian detection using Dynamic Light Spot.
At the heart of the Night Vision system is an infrared thermal imaging camera integrated into the BMW kidney grille. This provides a live video image which clearly highlights any objects giving off heat, despite being far beyond the range of the high beam.

The system recognises pedestrians, cyclists and animals in plenty of time, even when they are outside the headlights’ beam of light. The automatic pedestrian recognition control unit then analyses the image to determine whether the vehicle is on a collision course with any pedestrians or cyclists. If a person at the roadside is deemed to be potentially at risk, a high-resolution icon will flash up in the central Control Display or the BMW Head-Up Display as a warning.

In addition to the visual and audible warnings, Dynamic Light Spots are now used to pinpoint the detected objects, allowing the driver to immediately make out any road users in danger in the dark and react in time. The new high-performance LED headlights are fitted on the outsides of the front apron in place of the foglamps, and are computer-controlled to swivel and illuminate the target object precisely. The High-Beam Assistant also intervenes if required to prevent the Dynamic Light Spots from dazzling other traffic. When they are not activated, the Dynamic Light Spots are dimmed to work together with the daytime running lights or low beam.

Anti-dazzle LED High-Beam Assistant with intelligent control.

The BMW 7 Series is now available with the option of full-LED headlights which provide a further safety boost when driving at night. The bright white light they emit illuminates the road ahead with an exceptional intensity. Together with the High-Beam Assistant, the Adaptive Headlights with cornering lights as well as variable headlight distribution, they continue to represent the ultimate in lighting technology. The anti-dazzle High-Beam Assistant in conjunction with full-LED headlights ensures that the driver can enjoy optimal visibility at all times without having to switch manually between high and low beam.

The system uses a camera integrated into the rear-view mirror to identify vehicles travelling up to 400 metres (approx. ¼ mile) in front. Oncoming traffic is picked up when it is still 1,000 metres (just under ¾ mile) away. With the High-Beam Assistant activated, the headlights are partially masked as and when required in order to eliminate the danger of dazzling vehicles as they draw closer. If necessary, however, the High-Beam Assistant can also adapt to the traffic situation by switching to low beam on one or both sides.

Driving Assistant Plus brakes to a halt if required.

The Active Cruise Control system Driving Assistant Plus builds on the familiar cruise control system with Stop & Go function (ACC with Stop&Go). For an enhanced interpretation of the traffic situation ahead, the full-range radar sensors are now supplemented by a front-mounted camera on the rear-view mirror. When driving in heavy-flowing traffic or traffic jams, the driver is able to safely move along with the flow and let the vehicle’s automatic systems handle the tasks of stopping and pulling away again as well as approaching junctions where there are already vehicles waiting ahead. Combining radar and video data in this way improves detection of other vehicles and cuts the system’s reaction time.

If a vehicle ahead brakes very sharply in free-flowing traffic, requiring the driver to take action, he is prompted to do so by a two-stage warning. Simultaneously to this, the activation thresholds of the Brake Assist system are lowered, activating the brake priming function in the process. If the driver fails to react to the acute warning, Driving Assistant Plus will intervene to decelerate the vehicle itself, even braking it to a stop depending on the situation.

With Driving Assistant Plus, the upper limit of the operating range for the Active Cruise Control with automatic distance control has now been increased by 30 km/h, meaning it is available at speeds between 30 km/h and 210 km/h. The intelligent cruise control function continues to be active at speeds above 210 km/h.

Active Protection monitors the driver’s behaviour at the wheel.

The BMW 7 Series now boasts an even more extensive Active Protection safety package thanks to the addition of the Attentiveness assistant. The system’s electronics analyse driving behaviour on the basis of various signals such as steering angle, road speed and other engine parameters. If the system increasingly detects telltale signs of fatigue starting to build up, the central Control Display encourages the driver to take a break by displaying a coffee cup symbol.

At the start of every journey when the driver and front passenger fasten their seat belts, the Active Protection motorised belt retractors reduce any belt slack. If the car enters a critical pre-crash scenario, the driver and front passenger belts are pulled tight, and the side windows and sunroof are closed.

Active Protection deduces that a collision is likely based on data from the front-mounted camera or radar, an emergency braking manoeuvre initiated by the driver, or the onset of heavy understeer or oversteer. If a crash is unavoidable, the system will automatically brake the car afterwards without any intervention required from the driver. Following the initial impact, the car is slowed to a standstill with a maximum deceleration rate of 5 m/s² and its brakes then locked for a further 1.5 seconds. This reduces the likelihood of – or even prevents – a secondary collision.

Speed Limit Info with No Passing Info display using road sign symbols.

In combination with the Professional or Business navigation system, Speed Limit Info keeps the driver notified of the detected speed limit for the current stretch of road. The front-mounted camera integrated into the rear-view mirror continuously monitors road signs, including variable-message overhead signs on motorways and dual carriageways. This information is checked against the navigation system’s database of speed limits. The camera is also able to take into account additional signs or temporary restrictions, for example at roadworks. As with speed limits, a No Passing Info display can now also be flashed up in the instrument cluster or Head-Up Display in the form of a road sign until the restriction has been lifted. Furthermore, drivers now have the benefit of a Speed Limit Device, which caps the car’s maximum speed at between 30 and 230 km/h, as set by the driver.

BMW Parking Assistant takes charge of manoeuvring into parking spaces.

BMW Parking Assistant uses ultrasonic sensors integrated into the sides of the vehicle to help search for suitable parking spots. The system then helps the driver to manoeuvre safely and comfortably into parking spaces positioned parallel to the direction of travel. With the Parking Assistant activated and the car travelling at a slow speed of no more than 35 km/h, a notification appears in the Control Display to alert the driver to suitable spaces that are at least 1.20 metres longer than the BMW 7 Series as he passes them.

During the parking process, all the driver has to do is change gear, operate the accelerator and brake pedal, and keep an eye on the area around the car. The Parking Assistant then proceeds to take care of all the steering movements required to execute a precise reverse parking manoeuvre. A new bird’s-eye view of the vehicle in the Control Display works in unison with the Park Distance Control to clearly visualise the distance to other objects and make it easier for the driver to monitor the parking process.

Innovative boot access makes life a little easier.

The BMW 7 Series now offers even greater ease of use with a hands-free boot lid opening function. Standing behind the car, a quick movement of the foot under the centre of the rear bumper is enough to prompt the boot to open without any use of the hands. The boot then automatically unlocks and swings open by spring force. For detection purposes, the vehicle is fitted with sensors placed at different heights in the rear bumper trim. The sensors can identify the foot “command” by monitoring the area of the leg between the shin and the tip of the foot.

They then send a signal containing special algorithms to the onboard computer. Access is only authorised, however, if the system simultaneously identifies the Comfort Access control unit (the key), which the person must be carrying with him. The boot lid is then unlocked and raised automatically, without hand contact. Key authorisation provides the safeguard that ensures correct operation at all times.

Yet more unrivalled driver assistance systems and mobility services.

Apart from the highlights detailed above, BMW ConnectedDrive in the BMW 7 Series encompasses a host of sophisticated features and technologies designed to delight anyone seeking supreme convenience and safety. These include the existing full-colour BMW Head-Up Display, BMW Assist Emergency Call with automatic vehicle location, the rear view camera and Surround View, Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), as well as the full range of in-journey entertainment offered by BMW Online, all the office functions and BMW Apps.

  1. The new BMW 7 Series: Sporting poise and luxurious comfort in perfect harmony.

  2. BMW 7 Series Design: Stylish presence, unique equipment features, an unforgettable way to cover the miles.

  3. BMW 7 Series: Powertrain and chassis

  4. BMW 7 EfficientDynamics: Increasing power and cutting-edge functions while lowering fuel consumption and emissions

  5. BMW 7 ConnectedDrive: The new benchmark for infotainment, convenience and safety.

  6. BMW 7 Body and safety: Optimised protection and intelligent lightweight design as a founding principle.