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BMW's New Feature Is Proof Automakers Are Copying Tesla

Technology / Comments

Owners will like this new update.

Tesla's over-the-air-updates (OTA) are among its most highly touted features. With a simple update that happens automatically and usually takes place overnight, Teslas are able to upgrade themselves with fun new features, bug fixes, and even increases in performance and range. It has taken a while for other automakers to catch on with OTA update systems of their own, but Tesla is no longer alone in offering the feature. All new BMW models with Operating System 7.0 are capable of receiving OTA updates through the company's Remote Software Upgrade feature. BMW has just sent out its first ever Remote Software Upgrade for the car's Intelligent Personal Assistant.

The upgrade is already available and brings various new functions to the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. For those who don't know, Intelligent Personal Assistant is BMW parlance for voice command, where the driver can say "Hey BMW" to automatically trigger a voice prompt. Thanks to the OTA update, the voice command can now control driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and side collision protection. BMW says future updates will be available through the ConnectedDrive Store and can be activated by the driver. These updates will come free of charge (unlike BMW's smartphone connectivity) and the first one is already available on models like the X5, new 3 Series and 8 Series.

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We had a mixed experience with Intelligent Personal Assistant when we first drove the new X7. The "Hey BMW" feature often failed to activate the system when we wanted to use it and accidentally activated when we simply said "BMW" in a sentence. Future OTA updates should iron out some of the system's kinks, but it's nice to see BMW is getting mileage out of the added update functionality by incorporating new features into its voice command software.