BMW will increase software content in its cars by 10%

Premium carmaker's specialist IT unit develops new electronic functions

Munich. Software plays an important role in about 90 percent of all innovations that find their way into vehicles.

Above all, this applies to engine management, chassis, safety, navigation and telematics.

Because of this, the amount of software in car systems has grown dramatically. The BMW 7 series was launched with a total software volume of 100 megabytes. BMW is now planning for a volume of 1 gigabyte as it develops its new vehicles. That is a tenfold increase.

BMW Car IT has been working with AUTOSAR to introduce a standard in which software automatically fits the hardware component in use.

New software standard

The standard makes it possible to deal with software and hardware separately and thus develop vehicles more flexibly, by retrofitting new functions, for example.

AUTOSAR -- Automotive Open System Architecture -- is a consortium of automakers and suppliers.

BMW Car IT has about 30 specialists . They are primarily IT experts.

About half of their working time is devoted to BMW series production work. But the employees conduct independent research.

"We are working central issues that are necessary for software development in the future," said Harald Heinecke, BMW Car IT manager.

New functions retrofitted?

These include the development and refinement of sustainable standards as well as preparations for software development.

For instance, a digital key ought to do more than just get a person in the vehicle door. In the future, it has to store personal information about the position of the rearview mirror or driver's seat.

Moreover, it is conceivable that newly developed comfort or safety functions could be retrofitted or vehicle controls could be updated at a BMW dealership.

With the right equipment and training, dealers could see many new possibilities emerge.

Tags: Automakers BMW

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