Java powered BMW

The current Business Week features a special report on automotive technology. Jim Kerstetter writes about the new automotive software capable of updates and upgrades such as Siemens VDO Automotive’s Top Level Architecture based on Java.

BMW can continually write updates and add-ons that work together without testing, thanks to the underlying Java. Every time a car owner visits a BMW dealer, new software, like a new navigation system, can be added. Partners that know how to program in Java could also write software to run on iDrive. A rental-car company, for example, could automatically send information such as updated mileage rates to its customer via an on-board computer.

I have tested the iDrive on the latest BMW and it is very slick. Frequently used functions accessible by buttons and adjusted by the knob. I could pull up automotive diagnostics easily for real-time trip feedback. Given an Internet connection over a cellular network and a Java computer on board, any commute could be more interesting. I could record any radio program as it happens, or log a GPS location I found particularly interesting. My car could send pictures of the road to a server for detailed traffic information. Open platforms create cool tools!