BMW connects car through Smartwatch app

September 05, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The boundaries between automotive electronics, smart home and the rest of the world are blurring. BMW now offers evidence for this truism - at the IFA, the consumer electronic fair currently going on in Berlin. The carmaker shows a range of innovative connectivity solutions around the car.

The most spectacular ones are apps that enables drivers to control their smart home from the car and a Smartwatch app that connects the driver to the vehicle, offering a number of remote control functions. The latter one is baptized iRemote and runs on a Samsung Gear S smartwatch. It enables drivers to access the most essential informations about his vehicle in real-time. In the case of the BMW's e-car i3, the watch displays the remaining driving range, the charging status of the battery and, while charging, the remaining charging time until the battery is full. Sub menus provide data about the vehicle status - doors, windows, boot lid and the likes. Drivers also can pre-set the air conditioning, always a critical issue for electric cars, or access the navigation data. The app also supports intermodal route planning which means that in case of congested city traffic it suggests alternatives to using the car - including navigation with public transportation.

Another example is linking the smart home to the connected car. Towards this end, BMW shows an App developed by Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Qivicon that has been modified to run in the vehicle's head unit. The functionality includes all the features of the standard Qivicon app - like closing or opening roller shutters, closing windows, turning lights on or off and even instruct a coffee maker to start its activity.

The integration is based on BMW's A4A interface which has been developed to facilitate porting smartphone apps to the head unit and integrate them into the vehicle's HMI. Thus, the app are displayed in the centre stack display; users can control it through BMW's iDrive Controller.