Operating System 8 is rolling out on new BMWs with Android Automotive integration coming in 2023.
BMW’s iDrive infotainment system debuted on the controversially-styled E65 7 Series in 2001 and has received numerous updates throughout its life. Now BMW has announced that the eighth iteration of the system will be tbuilt on Google’s Android Automotive operating system in future models, joining cars from Volvo, Polestar and the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric.
We first saw the latest OS8 iDrive system debut on the all-electric iX model, then the i4 and subsequent 2 Series Active Tourer. BMW says the rollout of Android Automotive into ‘certain model series’ will begin in March 2023 and will line up ‘alongside the current Linux-based variant’.
Android Automotive is the software on which the entire iDrive system is built and is not the same as Android Auto, which is simple smartphone mirroring. BMW says the use of Android Automotive will allow tailored user interfaces and the ability to develop its own iteration of the operating system in the future.
Details on how BMW’s version of the Android Automotive system will function and what it will look like haven’t been revealed but with the latest iDrive system it’ll appear on a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch central infotainment display.
Stephan Durach, Senior Vice-President of Technical Operations at BMW spoke on next year’s infotainment expansion, “We are integrating the best aspects of all worlds – that could be our own in-house developments, Open Source or commercial software products, depending on what the specific solution looks like. We make sure our customers always enjoy a unique, customised digital experience in their vehicle.”
As with previous generations of iDrive, BMW says the new system will continue to be updated “over the air”. We expect Android Automotive updates will be rolled out through OTA, similar to when BMW added Android Auto to 750,000 of its cars in late 2020.
The announcement comes not long after Apple’s reveal of its new CarPlay system – which will provide a more comprehensive infotainment system when it launches in 2023.