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BMW revs up its own ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’ voice tech

BMW is readying a digital voice assistant that is familiar with your car’s operations and can learn your preferences over time. Slated for release in a basic version in March 2019,  BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available for cars using the manufacturer’s new OS, BMW Operating System 7.0., BMW Group announced.

The assistant will respond to “Hey BMW” initially, but you will be able to personalize the digital co-driver by changing the vehicle voice assistant’s call word. The press release used “Charlie” and “Joy” as renaming examples, which suggests you will also be able to select gender.

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BMW promises future versions of the Intelligent Personal Assistant will be compatible with other major digital voice assistants, so you might want to hold off on an impulse to rename the BMW system “Alexa,” for example, to avoid potential confusion later on.

The Intelligent Personal Assistant will be able to operate and explain the vehicle’s functions. You’ll be able to say “Hey BMW, I’m cold” to prompt the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to adjust the temperature, or ask “Hey BMW, how does the heating and cooling system work?”

The first version of the Intelligent Personal Assistant will be able to memorize your vehicle setting preferences. Future versions will be able to learn and adjust the settings automatically, according to BMW.

The system will remember every command, every question, and every setting you make to form a comprehensive profile. This profile, called the BMW ID, will link the vehicle to you and your digital world, so presumably, you could hop in another BMW, enter your ID, and the new vehicle would be personalized.

The Intelligent Personal Assistant will connect with BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud. Remote over-the-air (OTA) upgrades will automatically add features and potentially fix any problems. If you buy a 2019 BMW with OS 7.0 before March 2019, the OTA capability will add the Intelligent Personal Assistant to your car without requiring a visit to a dealership.

The Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available in 23 languages in a basic version next March as an option for BMWs equipped with BMW OS 7.0 as part of the Live Cockpit Professional. An advanced version with as-yet-unannounced extended features will be called the Connected Package Professional.

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