Hanover, Germany – The technology company Continental supplies essential elements for an intuitive and attractive user experience in the new BMW iX. In response to vehicle digitalization, the electric vehicle integrates Continental’s Cockpit High-Performance Computer. It manages the increasing software complexity as well as the rapidly growing functional scope in the cockpit. The computer also provides the necessary computing power for the functions in the supplier’s head-up display and the large-scale display landscape in the vehicle. Together with the driver camera integrated in the digital instrument cluster, Continental offers essential building blocks for seamless interaction between the driver and the vehicle with a new type of user experience. Furthermore, Continental is also equipping the electric model with ultra-wideband transceivers for digital vehicle access with smartphones. Other solutions from the supplier, such as the smartphone terminal with close-range communication for inductive charging, the electronics for the intelligent panoramic roof called BMW Sky Lounge as well as soft and low-emission surface materials ensure exciting design in addition to comfort, ergonomics, and user-friendliness.
“The user experience is becoming an increasingly important decision criterion for vehicle buyers. With our building blocks for an intuitive, safe, but above all, the attractive interaction between the driver and the vehicle in the BMW iX, as well as our expertise in software development and systems integration, we help to promote sustainable mobility”, said Nikolai Setzer, CEO Continental.
High-performance computer forms foundation for infotainment world of future cars
The electronics architecture in the BMW iX bridges the gap from today’s distributed to an integrated and centralized vehicle architecture of the future. Instead of relying on multiple electronic control units, BMW’s new electric vehicle concentrates the computing power of various functions in a few central computers. Continental’s powerful cockpit domain controller is responsible for various software functions and manages all input and output devices in the vehicle interior centrally, on a single electronic control unit. As such, it offers new opportunities for a unique and consistent user experience throughout the vehicle. This also merges functions from infotainment and instrumentation so that they can now be freely configured. This allows maximum personalization for drivers and passengers as well as greater freedom in vehicle design. The central high-performance computer also opens the door for third-party apps and cloud services and supports hardware-independent software integration. Combined with the solution for over-the-air software updates, this creates timeliness and expandability for the cockpit.
The cockpit and the human-machine interface are thus increasingly transforming from being a driver’s workplace to a multimodal companion that adapts to the driver’s needs. This approach is particularly evident in the display system in the windshield and with the supplier’s driver camera in the curved display. The head-up display projects all relevant information, such as speed, important warning messages and navigation arrows, in the direct field of vision of the driver, keeping your eyes on the road and close to the traffic. The driver camera in the instrument cluster of the BMW iX, which is seamlessly integrated into the display, analyzes camera images of the driver’s head position, direction, eye-opening and line of sight, ensuring that the driver is warned in the event of distraction from traffic or lack of attention due to fatigue. Accordingly, the two solutions additionally promote intuitive user experience and safety in road traffic. Other electronic safety components of Continental’s active and passive safety, such as control units for brakes, chassis and airbags as well as sensors, also contribute to driving safety in order to ensure a holistically positive user experience.
Further solutions for a digital ecosystem and a unique sense of space
Continental is supplying the transceiver modules for the BMW iX electric vehicle, thus contributing to the digitalization of the traditional car key. As an essential building block for keyless access via smartphone, the mobility supplier’s modules measure the distance from the smartphone to the vehicle. This allows precise localization of the digital key for passive access and engine start without the driver having to pick up the smartphone. Thanks to ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, the solution offers maximum convenience combined with significantly improved security against relay attacks (man-in-the-middle) for the first time. For instance, vehicle thieves are no longer able to intercept and extend the key signal to gain access. The vehicle owner can also generate up to five digital keys simultaneously via the My BMW app from the vehicle manufacturer and conveniently share them with family and friends.
The global standard for passive vehicle access is being developed in the cross-industry Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). This is where companies from the automotive industry, smartphone manufacturers and technology companies come together to drive forward the networking between smartphones and vehicles. The CCC also aims to identify further applications for vehicle localization based on UWB technology. At the CCC, Continental, together with other renowned companies such as BMW and Apple, is dedicating itself to the basic development of the UWB radio standard for vehicle access.
In the BMW iX, it is also possible to place the mobile device on the smartphone terminal from Continental with integrated near field communication (NFC) interface and charge it inductively, automatically establishing a connection between the phone and infotainment system. In addition, the vehicle can also be opened via NFC if the smartphone battery should run out.
With the control system for the so-called Sky Lounge, Continental is also making the panoramic roof intelligent. The large glass surface can be darkened electronically depending on the light conditions. The headliner thus offers a unique feeling of space, just like in nature.
Various surface materials, such as covers for the instrument panel, door balustrade and seats, from Continental also contribute to the pleasant indoor climate. The décor material Acella Lux used stands for high comfort and low-emission material properties.
Continental also offers different summer and winter tire models for the BMW iX at local tire dealers, whose performance is characterized by both short braking distances and excellent handling characteristics on dry and wet roads alike.