BMW is forging ahead with the development and rollout of the My BMW app. This key interface between smartphone and vehicle made its debut in July 2020. Having already been launched in 30 European markets, China and Korea, it will now also be available with further expanded functionality in Japan, Australia and 10 other countries. The My BMW app will also be rolled out in the USA and Canada from mid-April, making it available on five continents. Underpinning the rapid expansion of the My BMW app’s content and its fast-paced rollout is a scalable and universal software architecture. This has been fully developed in-house by BMW using Flutter, an open-source UI development kit from Google for the Dart programming language. The BMW Group’s Flutter/Dart development team is one of the world’s largest after Google’s, bringing together a total of 300 employees.
My BMW app: new features for March 2021.
The My BMW app runs on both iOS and Android operating systems and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It acts as a new universal interface with the car, providing information on the vehicle’s status at any time. Depending on the equipment fitted, it also enables remote operation of functions, such as vehicle locating, locking and unlocking the doors, and monitoring the car’s immediate vicinity (Remote 3D View).
Functions also include the ability to send destination addresses from a smartphone to the vehicle’s navigation system. Services from Amazon Alexa can be integrated via the My BMW app, too, while the range of functions for electrified vehicles has likewise been extended, including even clearer display of electric range.
The My BMW app makes it even easier for customers to log in to any current BMW model with their personal BMW ID. For example, the user information and settings stored in the BMW ID can now also be imported into the vehicle extremely conveniently by scanning a QR code displayed on the central screen. Last but not least, the My BMW app also allows the customer to contact their BMW Service Partner directly and provides them with a more detailed overview of their vehicle’s servicing requirements.
The My BMW app’s most important new functions from March 2021:
In addition to the integration of Amazon Alexa into models with BMW Operating System 7.0, the voice service is also now available for vehicles with BMW Operating System 5.0 and 6.0.
The Climate Timer allows pre-conditioning of vehicles with electrified drive systems – by heating the interior in winter and cooling it in summer, for example. This comfort-enhancing function has now been extended to diesel and petrol models too, meaning that their auxiliary heating and ventilation systems can also be programmed.
The Charging Plan provides owners of electrified BMW models with a clear, at-a-glance overview of all information on the current charging process (charging status, start time and duration, current range, pre-conditioning, time slot for charging and other relevant vehicle settings). In future, customers will additionally be able to benefit from push notifications informing them of the current charging status.
The filter function for charging station search makes it easy to find suitable charging facilities during a journey by quickly adding or removing various search parameters (provider, compatibility, charge speed, etc.).
Featuring a redesigned menu that is even more intuitive to use and further improvements to route calculation, BMW Maps now offers greater ease of use and enhanced performance.
The My BMW app: in-house development makes consistent use of cutting-edge technologies and componentry from big tech players.
The My BMW app is a new development that will fully replace the BMW Connected app from July 2021, and provide a technologically future-proof foundation. Its scalable universal architecture will support future requirements and is a crucial factor here, allowing new functions and customer requests to be implemented easily. This will additionally pave the way for constant advances, with multiple updates every year allowing functionality to be continually expanded. The modular approach to the app has other benefits, too; e.g. the app platform can be readily used for other BMW Group brands while also making it compatible with a broad spectrum of language and infrastructure variants, and vehicle and on-board network generations.
“The new app platform is built on three pillars: user friendliness, safety and reliability,” explains Dr. Nicolai Krämer, Vice President Offboard Platform BMW Group. “It provides a consistently designed set of functions spanning all brands on the basis of feedback and our customers’ usage behaviour. Targeted application of industry standards and their integration into the global software community allows us to focus on the core technical issues that bring about a worthwhile enhancement of our products and services.”
The software platform for the My BMW app is known within the BMW Group by the name Mobile 2.0 App Core. Developed 100% in-house, it embraces the very latest technologies and features a broad technology stack, i.e. a data ecosystem with a variety of components from big tech players. Thanks to its Flutter framework – an open-source UI development kit created by Google – and cross-platform design written in the Dart language, the My BMW app supports the iOS and Android operating systems using a single code base. At the same time, MS Azure from Microsoft was used to integrate a development environment with a full continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery/deployment (CD) pipeline in order to automate the app’s ongoing development process. The app’s backend for frontend architectural pattern for superior ease of use builds on platforms as a service (PaaS) that likewise originate from Microsoft. The term ‘backend for frontend’ means, for instance, that the app’s functionality can be expanded or potential error sources eliminated without the customer having to download a new version of the app after the modifications have been carried out. Cloudification also plays an essential role, because the app basically offers all functions, these can be displayed dynamically cloud-controlled depending on the vehicle equipment and market characteristics. Many of the My BMW app’s backend components, meanwhile, run on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
“The BMW Group’s Flutter software development team is one of the largest in the world after Google’s own,” says Dr. Krämer. “As well as working on internal projects, our experts also offer software components externally as members of the Flutter community.”