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  • Cheryl Tan

CES 2023: Stephan Durach On Taking BMW's Software Design To The Next Level!

BMW has always pushed hardware design to the limits, bringing to life incredible-looking cars. Now they are going to take software design to the next level. We spoke with Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President of BMW Group, Connected Company Development, to learn more about the next generation of BMW’s software!

Q: Hi, Stephan. So tell us more about the new updates to the UX UI experience.

So in the middle of 2023, we're going to change a couple of things on our user interface. We’re moving away from a column-based, horizontally oriented main menu to a map-based main menu because I think the map is a really important part of your interaction.

It will be mapped as a browser and we will put all the important information on top of that, so this will be the entry point and your new user experience, so to speak. You have the map as a base and suddenly if you pick a point of interest or charging station, you can navigate directly to it.

On the left side, the driver-oriented side, we have a couple of widgets which you can flip through and you can pick the most important widget for you, like your telephone, music that you listen to or the information you want to have.

So you can have one display, everything at the same time.

Q: So what are future improvements that we can expect to see in this area? And, you know, with AI being a very big part of how technology is advancing, would we see AI possibly playing a role in this area as well?

At one point in time, you'll have a system you want to interact with and one thing of interaction would be the system getting more proactive or making proposals which make sense in certain circumstances. AI will play a role there as well.

We'll get a better understanding of what you're doing and what is your daily behaviour and based on that we can make meaningful proposals to you which are not annoying, like proposals which make no sense at all. Based on this we can see a lot of potential for doing so.

Q: Some other car manufacturers have brought in some interesting features into their cars like Tesla being able to play your PlayStation five in the car when your car is on autopilot and stuff like that. What do you think about that sort of entertainment in a car?

You know, I think entertainment is important and gaming, especially casual gaming in a car, makes absolute sense. In the middle of the year, we have a partnership with AirConsole, they do a lot of casual gaming, you can use your phone as a controller and you can play with up to five or six people at the same time on the screen. So we will ship this feature in the middle of the year as well for gaming, I think it's a really important part of the car.

Video content is another thing, you can watch YouTube videos for example in our cars right now and I think that changed a little bit because when you drive an electric car and have a short charging stop for a couple of minutes it’s always fun to play around with things like this in the car. As I said, content is king so it's always good to create new content for our customers.

So the most important thing in your driving is your safety and your security, so driver distraction we’re taking it very seriously. Certain things we would not allow while you're driving for sure so it's really about making the right prioritisation, what kind of feature you want to use at what point in time and in what situation.

Watching a movie while you're driving, I don't think it's a good idea, we shouldn’t do that, playing a game? For sure not as well. But there are different situations at a standstill where we can do things like this. As I said, distraction and the perfect car UI depend on whether you're capable of picking the right amount of information at the right point in time at the right location and this is really what we're focusing on.

Where do we display the information at what point in time, in our head-up display, in our instrument cluster or our CIT, in different places, ways to do that, it's really important for us not to distract our customers at any point in time.

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