Friday - May 26, 2017

BMW and Google combine to provide a map of the future


BMW’s ConnectedDrive service when introduced around two years ago was regarded as being one of the most innovative developments for the business traveller. Of the various services available for the commercial traveller, possibly the most well received among them was  the ability to  access the internet, either through the car’s integral navigation system or the  driver’s  mobile phone.

BMW have taken the concept of in-car communication a major leap forward by hooking up with search engine giant Google, providing instant accessibility the wide choice of travel topics. These topics will range from national to international flight information, parking and hotel facilities and the most important information of all for the business traveller: maps.  And not just any maps, but the most accurate satellite generated maps from Google Earth, that can be narrowed down to the streets and even houses or office blocks as the destination draws closer.

At this stage, the BMW Online/Google alliance only covers some of the major European countries (the United Kingdom, Germany France, Italy and Austria, as well as in the United Arab Emirates, Early indications are that BMW  have received considerable positive feedback from current users and intend to spread the Google coverage across the planet.

What sets the Google destination package apart from even the most advanced GPS systems is the incredibly accuracy and wide variety of methods available to view the traveller’s final destination, from Google’s fabulously accurate “Panoramia” satellite imagery and if available, the even more pin-point able Street View option mapping capability, that will guide   the driver to the very street and block that they need to get to. Not only that but accessing to Google means that the driver will be provided with loads of local information, such as a range of services that might be required either en-route or after arriving at the destination.  These can include accommodation details, restaurants, shopping centres as well as emergency services if need be.

While the only possible drawback to the BMW/ Google guidance system might be is that it is not voice activated, and the system will not “prompt” a driver if it feels that they have gone off-route, the overall feedback from owners state that the system has a wide variety of user friendly features that far outweigh this minor deficiency. One of the most important pluses is that the internationally renowned Google search feature will allow a business traveller find a specific company, an office block, a factory, or even a bar or restaurant or any even remotely known point on the map. And all they will be required to do is type just a few letters into the BMW’s integral computer and let Google do the rest.

With their ConnectedDrive concept BMW have set the barrier for other leading car manufacturers to follow suit. ConnectedDrive is only a part of suite of solutions for the business person who travels the roads of Europe. Other features include the Assist feature that will inform the driver of potential or actual traffic holds as well as alternative routes. Another popular feature added to the BMW ConnectedDrive technology package is the BMW Tracking service, which comes into play when fears are that a BMW car may have stolen, where the driver will be able to contact a Call Centre, especially established by BMW to handle such occurrences. Upon contact an on-board transmitter installed in the car will begin to discreetly generate signals that can be transmitted to the police, will immobilise the vehicle entirely allowing it to be rapidly traced.

These innovations and others like them are going a long way to make life easier for the long distance motorist. While BMW lead the way, there are many other of the World’s leading auto manufactures that look likely to follow suit in the near future.

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