BMW to launch AI-powered assistant

The automaker's Intelligent Personal Assistant will proactively suggest actions based on what it knows about a driver.

BMW is not content to simply use the market’s increasing voice assistants, launching its own AI-based, voice-command personal assistant specifically built to control the driving experience.

Announced today and premiered at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, the platform has been dubbed “BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant,” but users will be able to give it any name to activate it. Using voice commands, drivers can control the regular functions of the car – such as navigation and temperature control – without taking their hands off the wheel, as well as checking diagnostic information, such as oil levels and tire pressure. More conversational commands will trigger a range of changes – telling the system “I’m tired” will adjust lighting, temperature and music to keep a driver alert.

The system also utilizes AI (built on Microsoft’s Azure platform) to learn more about a driver’s habits and preferences. This can be used to remember settings, but also proactively make suggestions to a driver – such as changing the temperature depending on the time of day, suggesting they turn on the high beams in low light outside of urban settings or providing new routes based on previous traffic patterns.

BMW also launched its integration with Amazon’s Alexa in the U.S. a few weeks ago, although that integration is more focused on allowing users to access that platform’s features within their vehicle, with its own personal assistant directly controlling elements of the car and driving experience.

The assistant is expected to be available in March 2019.