BMW will charge drivers subscriptions for heated seats

Other features mentioned include a new map and navigation system, a reworked digital assistant, and a 'digital key'

BMW is adding another subscription service to its cars, which would make users sign up in order to access services already built into their cars.

This could include heated seats, or advanced driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control.

The news comes as the car manufacturer announces updates to its vehicles operating system (called Operating System 7). New cars will have this feature built in.

BMW will be able to update remotely every line of code that makes the car’s systems work.

“BMW already offers its customers digital services and additional vehicle functions in the form of digital after-sales, some of which are deeply embedded in the vehicle's software. In the US, BMW Drive Recorder is offered through a pilot program” the announcement reads.

“In the near future, additional functions will be added that can access the vehicle's existing hardware and software, such as certain comfort functions or driver assistance systems.”

It has been reported that these features could include heated seats, as well as driver assist functionality such as automatic high beams or adaptive cruise control.

The Independent has reached out to BMW for clarification on the price of such features, as well as a full list of the features that would have to be enabled through microtransactions.

“In the near future, we will not only be able to add more functions here, but we will also be able to add even more flexibility for our customers with temporary bookings so booking of options for three years, for one year, or even shorter periods of time, like a few months,” a spokesperson told Techcrunch.

This is not the only instance where BMW offers over-the-air access to functionalities. “We offer maximum flexibility and peace of mind to our customers when it comes to choosing and using their optional equipment in their BMWs, whether this BMW is new or used,” a spokesperson also said.

“So flexible offers, immediate availability, simpler booking and easy usability for choice, at any time, when it comes to your optional equipment. We already started connectivity over 20 years ago and since 2014, we are online with our Connected Drive Store, where digital services can already be booked.”

The difference here, however, is that these options were digital entertainment or informational additions, rather than activating built-in hardware.

Other features mentioned in the announcement include a new map and navigation system, a reworked digital assistant, wireless Android Auto, and the “digital key” announced at Apple's WWDC.

In 2019, BMW had to u-turn on a decision to charge Apple CarPlay users £85 per year.

Apple CarPlay, launched in 2013 and rebranded in 2014, allows iPhone users to use voice commands via Siri and suggest directions based on events in your Mail app, as well as other functionalities. Android Auto offers similar functionality for Google users.

BMW is not the only car company that has been using subscription services to unlock features. Tesla recently announced a $97-per-month payment, over 72 months, for features including Navigate on Autopilot, Summon, and Autopark.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in