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BMW iDrive Touch Controller System Officially Announced

BMW iDrive Touch Controller System

BMW iDrive Touch Controller

 

BMW iDrive Touch Controller System The introduction of the BMW iDrive Touch sees the development team at the BMW Group integrating a touch-sensitive pad into the iDrive system’s central control unit, the iDrive Controller, for the very first time. Measuring 45 mm across, the multi-touch surface makes certain in-vehicle control functions more intuitive, faster and easier to use.

Incorporating the touchpad into the iDrive Controller means it is ergonomically positioned where it is easy to reach: with entry, selection and confirmation being performed in the usual way using the control knob’s rotate-and-press mechanism, the direct proximity to the touchpad means there is no need for any fumbling around.

The touch surface will initially be made available for the Chinese market from July 2012 and will add various convenience-enhancing functions to the iDrive Controller, including handwriting recognition as well as navigating in maps. One year later, availability of the iDrive Touch and these new functions will be extended to almost all other markets. At this point, a function for surfing the internet is also due to be added, which will allow the mouse pointer to be controlled in exactly the same way as on many handheld devices.

Handwriting recognition.

The handwriting recognition function enables characters to be entered with the finger by simply “writing” them on the surface of the touchpad. Whereas previously this could only be done with the “Speller” – a circular arrangement of letters in the display – by turning the control knob, the touch-sensitive surface now recognises the letters and the Speller instantly jumps to the right point of the alphabet. To further reduce driver distraction, a voice output repeats the character that has been recognised.

The handwriting recognition function is a tremendous boon for the Chinese market especially, which is why the BMW iDrive Touch Controller is making its debut there. With several thousand characters and as many as 21 strokes per character, entering text is a far more complex task than with the Latin alphabet. The reason the iDrive Touch Controller is of such great benefit in China is that the sequence of strokes for starting Chinese characters is basically set in stone, meaning that the selection of characters is already narrowed down considerably with the very first stroke entered by the driver. The choice is further refined with each additional stroke, allowing rapid selection of the relevant character.

Map navigation.

Apart from recognising handwriting, the iDrive Touch also makes it possible to navigate freely within the route map shown in the display and zoom in on it, too. The scale is changed using the two-finger pinch gesture already familiar from many laptops und smartphones. If there is a traffic jam ahead, for example, the driver can adjust the scale of the displayed portion of map using the touchpad, move the view to the hold-up and take a look at the suggested alternative route.

The driver can also use touch control to mark the points of interest (POIs) stored in the map, then press the control knob to confirm his choice and display more detailed information. The later version of the iDrive Touch will furthermore allow the mouse pointer to be moved across the display while surfing the internet, just like on a home PC. Pressing the iDrive Controller will then have the same effect as clicking with the mouse.

 

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BMW Announces LTE Car Hotspot Technology

BMW-LTE-Hotspot Technology

The BMW LTE Car Hotspot brings ultra-high-speed mobile internet to the road for the first time.

 

BMW-LTE-Hotspot TechnologyThe BMW LTE Car Hotspot ushers in the next generation of mobile internet, and will make the BMW Group the first car manufacturer to bring the high-speed mobile internet experience to the road when it is launched in November 2012.

All that is required apart from the BMW Car Hotspot is an LTE-capable SIM card, which is inserted into the hotspot. Once it has been put into service in the vehicle, the adapter works just like any hotspot, meaning the passengers can enjoy LTE high-speed internet access on any devices they connect up. The hotspot additionally comes with a built-in battery pack and antennae, allowing portable use for up to 30 minutes outside the vehicle without an external power supply. A standard USB power supply unit even enables fully autonomous use without the need for either vehicle or battery.

Users connect their device via WiFi to the BMW LTE Car Hotspot, with its Long Term Evolution technology for going online. Of course, the adapter also allows multiple devices to be linked up simultaneously, so that the LTE internet connection can be shared by all passengers. Meanwhile, the galvanic connection to the vehicle aerial not only improves reception, it reduces radiation inside the car, too.

The BMW LTE Car Hotspot fits into any BMW centre console with a phone base plate, and can be retrofitted quite easily without changing the aerial and without a great deal of installation work. Even older BMW vehicles can be easily equipped with the latest in mobile internet technology by adding this accessory.

In areas where LTE is not yet available, the adapter will switch to the UMTS or GSM network.

LTE – high-speed internet.

Streaming music or videos from the internet to a mobile device or to the vehicle is already a reality today, with the data being transmitted over the mobile phone network. The bandwidth of the present UMTS 3G standard is restricted, however, meaning that media often cannot be streamed in optimum quality. And because sufficient network coverage isn’t available everywhere, not only is video playback sometimes in low resolution, it is jerky too, while music streaming is plagued by pauses.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will soon put an end to such annoyances. Also known as 4G, LTE is one of the fourth-generation mobile standards, and therefore represents the next generation in communications technology after GSM (2G) and UMTS/HSPA (3G). What makes LTE so special is its exceptionally broad bandwidth combined with very low latency: 3G is currently only able to achieve a theoretical data transfer rate of 14 Mbit/s, whereas the maximum with LTE is ten times that. With speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s and latency of just a few hundredths of a second, LTE paves the way for a mobile internet experience that matches – and in some cases even surpasses – that offered by a home PC with dedicated broadband line.

Coming soon: LTE for the SIM card integrated in the vehicle.

This will also herald benefits for the mobile services already being offered today under the umbrella of BMW ConnectedDrive, making them faster, more effective and even more widely available. Server-based services, such as in-car video and music streaming, will become even more attractive and easier to use as a result of the high bandwidth and low latency offered by LTE. By incorporating LTE technology into its vehicles, the BMW Group is ideally poised for taking the portfolio of BMW ConnectedDrive in-vehicle services to a whole new level.

After becoming the very first carmaker to offer in-car internet access with the launch of the BMW Online portal in 2001, this latest move further underlines the BMW Group’s great innovative flair in the connectivity stakes.

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BMW SDK For Third-Party Apps Annouced

BMW SDK Third Party Apps

Third-party apps – “BMW ready”

BMW SDK Third Party AppsIn 2010, the BMW Group became the first carmaker to enable comprehensive, application-based integration of the Apple iPhone into vehicles. Apps extend the range of in-car services using the smartphone, making it possible to use features such as web radio, GoogleTM Local Search or FacebookTM safely and easily in the vehicle.

But that’s just the start, as the application-based concept is designed to allow the use of “external” apps, paving the way for third-party services to be integrated into BMW and MINI models. With these third-party apps, the range of functions can basically be expanded at will: updating the app or installing another compatible app simply adds new functions, without having to make any modifications to the vehicle itself.

By integrating these third-party apps, the BMW Group gives customers the option of continuing to use the preferred service providers already familiar to them when driving in their car, too. In future, this will allow the wide array of infotainment functions that BMW drivers enjoy when at home or out and about to be smoothly transferred to their vehicle.

Software Development Kit for third-party apps.

In order to ensure optimum integration of third-party applications into the vehicle, the BMW Group offers providers a special Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK contains guidelines and specific tools that are intended to help the third-party providers develop compatible, vehicle-adapted versions of their apps. Following an approval process, the applications are certified by the BMW Group for MINI Connected, BMW Apps or Rolls-Royce Connect and made available to load on the smartphone.

The prerequisite for all apps is that they meet the requirements for distraction-free operation. The SDK consists of the framework as well as the necessary development tools (e.g. a simulation of the iDrive control logic in the vehicle [HMI]). The framework seamlessly integrates the apps into the display and control concept, thereby allowing them to be operated using the iDrive Controller and the steering wheel buttons. The app is also able to use the audio system and process vehicle data. Deeply embedding the app in the BMW display and control concept in this way forms the basis for optimum usability during the journey.

BMW Apps go Android/Expanding to include Android.

From July 2013, smartphones powered by Android platform will also be able to benefit from application-based integration. With a market share of more than 50 per cent, Android has become the most prevalent smartphone operating system. The BMW Group is therefore vigorously driving forward development in this area. By extending application-based smartphone integration to Android users as well, BMW now covers the bulk of the smartphone market and is opening up BMW apps to an even wider community.

The first concrete results are currently taking shape. The BMW Group specifically chose Samsung as its pilot partner for Android integration. The company is the world market leader across all mobile phone segments, including Android powered smartphones, making it an obvious choice for the BMW Group to join forces with Samsung for the launch of the app-based integration of Android. Android integration will be gradually rolled out to include further manufacturers. The BMW Group is once more highlighting its leadership claim for in-car smartphone integration.

Leading the way for many years.

Opening up the platform for apps from other providers once again underlines the leading role played by the BMW Group when it comes to integrating mobile devices and internet-based services into the vehicle. The BMW Group became the first carmaker to enable integration of the Apple iPod into its vehicles’ audio systems back in 2004. And in 2007, the BMW Group gave an exclusive presentation of the first technology for integrating the iPhone into its in-car infotainment system in time for the phone’s launch.

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Volkswagen RNS Navigation FAQ

Volkswagen RNS 310 car navigation system

 

VW RNS 310 NAVIGATION UNIT FAQConsidered one of the best built-in car navigation systems, the RNS 310 has a high resolution 5 inch display which allows for a clear view of the road maps in 2D or 3D according to the driver’s preference. The display has a touchscreen, for even easier access to the menu and options.  In order to suit all preferences, the RNS 310 also can be controlled through push buttons.

An iPOD or any USB flash stick can be attached directly to the RNS 310 through the media-in socket. This will allow the driver and passengers to listen to their favorite music or why not an audio book for a more pleasant trip.  In addition, the RNS 310 has an AUX input socket, through which a CD or MP3 player can easily be plugged in.  The FM radio can memorize 24 stations for quicker and easier access.

If the service is available, the RNS 310 will also allow for real-time traffic information to be received and displayed.  This useful feature will allow the modern RNS 310 to choose the best route for your trip, according to the current traffic situation.

The radio allows for the driver to receive real-time traffic information as well, which will add to the comfort of being guided securely and as easily as possible to the destination of your choice.  Your RNS 310 has the option of offering alternative routes in accordance with the traffic jams.

This smart navigation system, can be used when parking for rear viewing, it can also be utilized as a handsfree for your mobile phone, or simply for the control of the multi media and air conditioning of your Volkswagen.

 

Volkswagen RNS 510 car navigation system

VW RNS 510 NAVIGATION UNIT FAQThe RNS 510 multimedia control and GPS navigation system for Volkswagen is a guarantee for an easy and comfortable control, and a safe and pleasurable experience for the driver and passengers.  The touchscreen display is TFT and high quality, which allows for excellent 2D or 3D viewing of the road maps and routes.

The split-screen feature is an additional extra, allowing to simultaneously keep an eye on the route, and view other important information or display the menu control for example.  If it is offered as a locally, the navigation system also uses real time traffic information through the radio feeds.  This can be incorporated with the roadmap database, and be used when the RNS 510 calculates and offers the best route for your trip, depending on the current traffic situation.

Apart from the integrated 30GB HD, the RNS 510 has a DVD-ROM drive, for extra memory.  Any format of music can be played – either stored on the hard disk, on an external SD memory card or on a DVD disk.

An additional TV tuner (DVB-T) can be plugged into the RNS 510 for TV support as well.  Apart from being able to watch TV, when the engine is not running, the Teletext information is also a useful resource for both driver and passengers on the road.

The option for adding the Premium Bluetooth mobile phone integration feature to the RNS 510, is another step toward an even safer and more comfortable driving experience.

The RNS510 is an OEM navigation system, manufactured by Continental Automotive and is used in several models of Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda Cars.

Specifications:

  • Touch screen user interface
  • 30GB hard disk drive for maps (10GB) and music (20GB)
  • DVD player built-in
  • SD card reader built in for MP3 and WMA music files
  • 6.5″ 16:9 Widescreen display
  • 800 x 480 screen resolution
  • MDI compatible
  • RVC compatible
  • Optical Parking System compatible
  • Dynaudio and VW Sound System compatible
  • Position sensing via ABS sensors
  • Acoustic driving instructions
  • Optical pictograms in the on-board computer display monitor (Highline DIS only)
  • Adjustable radio loudspeaker volume control for the output of driving recommendations
  • Selectable menu language: German, English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish
  • Selectable road map orientation
  • Guidance to destination “turn by turn”
  • Dynamic navigation which re-routes when there are traffic problems ahead
  • Evaluation of TP and TA
  • TIM: Traffic news memory
  • TMC – Traffic Message Channel
  • POI – Points Of Interest such as petrol stations, airports, train stations, car parks, theaters, shopping centres, cash machines etc etc…)
  • Ability to play music from internal CD/DVD and use GPS at the same time
  • Split screen display – compass/3d map view, gps stats/map, bird’s eye map view/3d map view, etc.
  • RDS/EON VHF (stereo), MW* TP, TA
  • 400 MHz CPU
  • Speech distortion elimination during traffic news
  • 6 x 6 memory presets (TP, FM, AM, on the memory levels 1 and 2)
  • Radio and memory scan
  • 20W x 4 output power (RMS)

 

Volkswagen RNS 810 navigation and radio system

VW RNS 810 NAVIGATION UNIT FAQThe RNS 810 is a central car control unit, which allows for the easy and comfortable control of the multimedia, the air conditioning and of course the GPS navigation system of the car.

It has a high resolution TFT touchscreen display, which allows for the driver and passengers to easily scroll through the menu options, choose destination points, choose a music file, or turn on the air conditioning with just one touch.

The high quality display allows for a 2D or 3D of the road maps.  The RNS 810 supports radio transmitted traffic information (TMC) in the regions and countries where this service is available.  This real-time information will be used by this smart navigation system, when offering the best, most comfortable and shortest routes to the destination of your choice.

The split-screen function of the RNS 810 display is useful for simultaneously viewing the maps and other additional information or car controls.

 

Apart from accessing and using the latest road map databases, the integrated 30GB Hard disk, the DVD and the additional SD card slot allow for the loading, storage and playback of music and video files for a perfect multimedia experience while travelling.

The high quality TFT display allows for excellent viewing of movies and videos for the passengers, together with the modern 8 speaker sound system, the multimedia experience is perfect while travelling.

A TV tuner can be added, so that TV or Teletext can be used as well.  There is also a Premium Bluetooth mobile integration option which can be ordered with the RNS 810, which adds additional comfort and safety for the driver.

You can find VW maps here:

Volkswagen Europe and America Navigation DVD Maps.

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