Test BMW OS8: Infotainment system relies on the cloud

The big jump in the version indicates that Munich’s engineers have now turned everything inside out and made everything new. Fortunately, this is not the case, because the path taken with OS7 has proven itself so far, both with customers and with the BMW infrastructure operator. So it sticks to its previous advantages, with a constant focus on the cloud part, which makes the system very resilient.

BMW doesn’t say anything concrete about the hardware, only generalities such as “the number of GHz and gigabytes of RAM are not the only determining factor for the performance and future viability of the entire system”. Of course, as a manufacturer with a good cloud side, you don’t want to be evaluated based on hardware on the user side, but that doesn’t change anything about the basic advantages and disadvantages of in-car computing power. Disadvantages: They cost money and are often unnecessary, see also Google’s forays into telecommunications with relatively minimal hardware built in.

Pros: The performance of the hardware in the car is good: in the car. If the tunnel comes or the driver is passing through one of the third world countries covering the network such as the Federal Republic of Germany, it can make a big difference to computing-intensive applications such as speech recognition and synthesis. After all, every company faces the WordPress phenomenon: buying powerful hardware always costs less than writing effective software these days.

Like other manufacturers, BMW also makes the transition between cloud responses and onboard responses transparent to users, so they don’t notice anything directly. You only indirectly notice from the quality of the answers what network coverage might look like. In practice, BMW’s speech recognition works very well, although in my opinion it is inferior to the competition from Mercedes. Command Sequence “Hey, BMW!” or “Hi, Horst!” , because you can rename the assistant yourself, so often no one even heard of it that in the test I pressed the voice input button in the classic way.

Then the new ball cloud appears as a representation of the voice assistant and accepts the input. The ambiguous logic sometimes was too vague for me. The system often implements vaguely recognized commands in a way that is misunderstood. Here I would prefer the system to report the lack of understanding ahead of time and act like Angela Merkel: if you don’t do anything, at least you’re not doing anything wrong.

Standard home screen with navigation map, assistant and trip computer
(Photo: Clemens Gleich)

BMW got the (intentional) pause between input and response from the system from OS7. Again, the volume button helps if this bothers you. In general, the BMW Assistant in practice operates with sufficient network coverage just like its Daimler counterpart, and each has its own small characteristics in the drivetrains – and it is not surprising that the technology behind them is the same. The differences lie in offline recognition and more human speech synthesis in the Mercedes.

In terms of language assistants, the iX could catch up (or overtake) significantly in the next few years without any user-side changes, because BMW is launching it with a 5G modem right away. The eSIM can be integrated into Telekom’s existing mobile contract for €9.95 per month (“MobilityConnect” contract option). For example, you can stream videos via car antenna, internal 5G modem, car router and current nodes. Only now the expansion of the 5G network should be better than the previous disaster.

In order to reduce and simplify inputs and provide interest, BMW relies more than before on the context of these inputs. When the car is parked, for example, the display shows the following typical menu items, i.e. charging and air conditioning settings. Voice control remembers the current input context so that it correctly processes short answers to queries.

Because lane guidance is useful for many things in the car, BMW tries to guess the next destination from the previous behavior, even when lane guidance is not active. A prime example: the way it works. Passengers know it by heart, so the navigation system is often absent. With OS8, there is even without route routing, for example, information or traffic information on the appropriate shipping option.

Disclaimer: This article was created from the feed and has not been edited by our team.

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