The car will soon be the most power computer that most people have access to, says BMW Group head of digital services Dieter May. However, the automaker is proceeding cautiously with over the air updates to the software in its vehicles. May explained why in an interview with Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher and Editor Luca Ciferri.
A connected car offers the advantage of over the air (OTA) vehicle software updates. What is BMW’s plan for OTA updates?
We are still working on our strategy. We are deciding which pieces of software can be updated over the air and how – at home using your local LAN or using the SIM embedded in the car. The advantage is clear: Your vehicle is constantly updated without having to take it to the dealership. There are also some clear risks, not only cybersecurity but how to buffer memory in the car to store the update before you overwrite the existing software. For functions such as engine management software, we are talking about several gigabytes of data. An update this large could have a significant effect on your mobile phone data plan.
So, no OTA updates for BMW yet?
We are currently only using OTA to update navigation system maps.
What role will the car play in the Internet of Things?
The car will become one of the most powerful computers you have -- and it is on wheels. With the Internet of Things, your vehicle won’t be an isolated means of transportation anymore -- it will be a key part of your digital world. It will be another touch point of your digital life, using Amazon’s Alexa for voice commands and so on.
What additional services will BMW offer to its large number of business fleet customers?
The car is already part of your business life with productivity tools such as Microsoft 360 and Skype for Business. You can check your emails and have conference calls while driving. All services will be scalable, with subscription packages like in the mobile phone world.
Is BMW looking at cryptocurrencies for in-car purchases?
No. We are using credit cards and electronic paying systems such as PayPal.