We’ve known for quite some time that we’re entering into and era when the “Internet of Things” is involved in almost all aspects of our lives. The Internet of Things is basically the idea that all of the devices, automobiles and homes are interconnected and can communicate with each other seamlessly and unbeknownst to the owner. To create this vision BMW has, a “highly flexible service architecture” is required, something BMW calls the Open Mobility Cloud. This Open Mobility Cloud would be a network of integrated systems, such as an automobile, Smart Home and any other smart devices that a user might own. All of these devices can work together in the background to meet the user’s needs on their own, via the Cloud.
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BMW has created a sort of vision for this at the 2016 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. To get an idea of BMW’s vision, imagine a Smart Home (which is basically a home in which most aspects of the home are run via one automated system) and a BMW i3 that are networked together via the Open Mobility Cloud. In this Smart Home, the user’s morning routine is exactly mapped out by the Cloud and all of the information is given to the user. For instance, a Mobility Mirror (a mirror that can display all relevant information of all devices paired to it) displays the user’s morning schedule, appointments, tasks, weather and even the battery status of the BMW i3 in the garage. Being that all of these devices are interconnected, the BMW i3 knows the daily appointments and errands of the user and can map out the navigation system accordingly, taking traffic information and weather into account.
Now, let’s say it’s time to head out the door and get on with the user’s day. Well, either by picking up the BMW i3 key or by a scheduled departure time or even flipping on the coffee maker, the i3 knows when it needs to be ready for the user. So, when necessary, the Smart Home automatically opens the garage door and the BMW i3 leaves the garage on its own only to pull up to the front door with the driver’s door facing the user for easy entry. It basically acts as its own valet, completely autonomously, without the user even having to call for it. This action can also play out in reverse. When the user arrives home, they simply exit the car and with either the push of a button or hand gesture, the i3 will park itself in the garage, close the door behind it and proceed to recharge itself.
The BMW i3 has three different charging functions; Solar Smart, Off-Peak Charging and Immediate Charging. Solar Smart optimizes charging based on the status of the solar BMW i Home Storage system, Off-Peak Charging waits to charge until the most favorable tariff time and Immediate Charging charges the batteries to maximum capacity as quickly as possible. I’m guess this will come when wireless charging becomes more readily available, as the BMW i3, as clever as it may be, can’t plug itself in.
Let’s say the user drives their BMW i3 to an appointment venue, the i3 will then assist in finding a parking space. Once a space is identified, the driver selects the space and exits the vehicle. A simple gesture, recognized by a Smart Watch of course, tells the i3 to park in the space. Subsequently, a similar gesture can beckon the car back to the user when the appointment has finished and the i3 will reverse out of the parking space and drive itself up to the user.
During all of this automated driving, the BMW i3 will use four cameras to create a 360 degree view around the vehicle and then transmit that view to the user’s smart phone or Mobility Mirror via the Remote 3D View application.
But it isn’t just about using smart watches and other devices to control the BMW i3. It works both ways. The user will be able to check and control all controllable aspects of the Smart Home via the BMW i3. Through the iDrive system, users will be able to check the status of the home, such as doors and windows being locked or unlocked, lights turned on or off or whether the alarm system has been set or not.
The entire idea of the Open Mobility Cloud is to connect the user’s BMW with any of their smart devices, whether it be their watch, home, mirror or robot dog. With all of these devices linked together, user’s are able to control everything from anywhere, making life as seamless and simple as possible. That is, if you can understand all of it.