BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant may be the cold, distant German Siri of our dreams

BMW's IPA will start in the car but eventually will transition to your smartphone and your smart home devices.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

has been eyeballing what Apple and Google and Amazon are doing with their voice-activated assistants and thought that it needed to get in on the game. The German automaker has a new Intelligent Personal Assistant and we can only hope that it will condescend to us gently and not appreciate our jokes.

In all seriousness though, BMW's IPA -- unveiled on Thursday -- has some neat features that should make using it fairly intuitive. First, you can set the response word, so you don't have to shout "Hey BMW" like you're James Doohan in Star Trek IV.

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BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant will respond to a variety of natural language commands and will eventually be able to interface with your smart home and smartphone.


Next, it will respond to the natural language of complaint. In the demo video below, the narrator complains about being cold to his car, and the car juices the heat to 11. BMW's IPA will also explain vehicle features and functions to you, so if you can't figure out how to use the child seat anchors in your 3-Series wagon, IPA has you covered. It will also adjust infotainment settings, so that will be super convenient.

The best, and possibly the weirdest, feature of BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant is that it can carry on a conversation with the driver. BMW doesn't mention any planned updates for the system to add a Werner Herzog conversation mode, but we remain hopeful.

One future feature that BMW is excited about is the ability to take its assistant out of the vehicle and use it more like Alexa or Siri. Even cooler is that BMW claims it will be compatible with the other virtual assistants, so maybe you'll come home and Alexa, Cortana and IPA will be making fun of your search history. Or, more likely, you can have BMW turn on your smart lights and order something from Amazon for you.

BMW will launch the Intelligent Personal Assistant in 23 languages in March 2019 and it will go hand in cold, digital hand with BMW's Operating System 7.0.

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