Mini's New Infotainment System Has Video Games, A Digital Assistant Called Spike, And Augmented Reality For Navigation

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Just about every aspect of the infotainment system is customizable.

Mini has recently launched several new models, such as the new Cooper Electric Hardtop and Countryman. Both models will usher in new technology for the brand, such as the round OLED display with BMW Operating System 9.

Powered by the BMW Group's Operating System 9, the latest setup promises a superb digital experience. The screen is already groundbreaking as the world's first round OLED display. It serves a crisp and clear presentation and houses several functions, from navigation and media to climate controls and telephony. Before we get into the functions, let's explore the eight Experience Modes available.

'Core' is the standard mode, featuring a pure, elegant look with a Laguna color theme. This also comes with a 'Core' driving sound, serving as the Mini brand's electric sound. It can be heard inside and outside the vehicle, serving as acoustic pedestrian protection.

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'Go-Kart' bathes the interior in sporty Anthracite and Red hues, while the Interaction Unit gets a sporty speedometer that takes over the entire screen - if the driver wants. Aside from this, the 'Go-Kart' mode pattern is projected onto the dashboard while the throttle response is sharpened up. A fun 'Go-Kart' driving sound accompanies the mode.

Should you want to conserve the battery, 'Green' is the way to go. In this setting, animal animations convey the driver's efficiency level through their character and coloring. The throttle response is subdued, making for more efficient motoring while the ambient lighting turns green.

Other modes include 'Balance' and 'Timeless.' The former creates a calming environment with a driving sound that plays noises based on a forest, whereas the latter celebrates classic Minis with a large speedometer and serif typeface. This mode provides engine sounds generated by the original Mini and JCW GP, for an authentic experience.

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Other modes include Vivid, Personal, and Trail. Personal is interesting as it allows the owner to upload their photos, taking personalization to an entirely new level. Mini will also introduce new jingles and sounds for the Experience Modes and vehicle functions. This will first be made available on the Mini Cooper Electric.

Also new to the Mini brand is the full-capability voice assistant. Activated by pushing a button on the steering wheel, or saying "Hey Mini," an avatar on the screen can assist the driver in several ways. This can range from navigation or radio requests to more complex questions such as "What's the weather at my destination?"

Owners can choose between 'Mini' - a stylized animation of a Mini - or 'Spike,' a British bulldog. The personal assistant can even conduct a basic conversation, answer questions, or tell a joke.

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On the navigation front, the new system uses cloud-based navigation that streams the latest map data into the vehicle. Electric Minis benefit from charging-optimized routes, which is handy if the range isn't enough to get the car to the destination.

An Optional Augmented View provides drivers with a live video stream of the route via the Interaction Unit. Customers can select from different map designs and detailing, such as 3D buildings. The map graphic colors change depending on the chosen Mini Experience mode.

Naturally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, but there are other ways to entertain yourself with the new Mini Interaction Unit. In-car gaming is available through the AirConsole app. All that is needed is a smartphone (that acts as a controller), with the display serving as the screen. Games include Go-Kart Go, Golazo, and Overcooked. Multiple people can play at one time. It's a touch gimmicky, but it makes waiting while charging your EV a bit more interesting.

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The Mini Digital Key Plus - compatible with Apple, Samsung, and Google devices - gives drivers a unique welcome when they reach the car. Moreover, this allows the owner to pass a digital key to their friends or family, allowing them to drive the vehicle without the physical key.

A system as advanced as this will need regular software upgrades. Remote OTA updates are now standard, with several free yearly upgrades for steady improvements. In certain regions, these updates could introduce new features and enhancements at no cost to the customer.

"We are taking a massive leap into the digital world with the new Mini family and, in so doing, underscoring the charismatic heritage of the brand. I am convinced that the digital power of the new models will delight Mini customers around the world," said Stefanie Wurst, Head of the Mini brand.

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