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The following is an excerpt from a larger BMW press release showing off some of the latest technology from the BMW Group’s innovation labs. While the MINI Connected is still in concept form, we do expect to see something like it in the near future. The likelyhood of the MINI Music Map on the other hand is unknown.

MINI Gets Connected – the New World of In-Car Entertainment.

Official Release: A very special vision has been in the process of becoming reality at MINI ever since the year 2001 – the vision to intensify the interaction of man and machine, to allow mutual communication of car and driver, and therefore to make the time you spend in your car as pleasant as possible. So how can information from the car be converted into exciting experiences and new functions for the occupants? The problem back then in 2001 was the lack of technologies required to implement the project.

Since then a lot has changed not only in the world of technology, but also in society. Today life takes place increasingly in the internet, communities such as Facebook adding new dimensions to social relations and making it easier to take up and maintain contacts across international and intercontinental borders. Web Radio, Blogging and RSS Feeds make data and information from all over the world readily available on your PC or MAC at home. And not just there, since rapid progress in the area of mobile terminals provides an increasing number of functions also while travelling, with users being online almost everywhere thanks to WLAN, UMTS and similar systems. So it is only obvious that the internet must be included in all considerations for today and the future.

In this ongoing development of both technology and society, the vision of former years is now becoming reality. MINI Connected brings the modern world of communication into the MINI and opens up brand-new perspectives in use – or, to put it in other words: MINI Connected shows what is possible when integrating an internet-compatible consumer electronics (CE) device such as a Smartphone into a MINI and intentionally feeding it with specific data from the car.

As an innovative spearhead in technology, the MINI Connected prototype for the first time demonstrates the comprehensive integration of CE devices into the car, bringing together the vehicle itself, mobile information, and entertain- ment to create a completely new world.

>“MINI Connected blends the world of modern communication with the automotive world of MINI, by using vehicle data for entertainment features for the first time.” (Florian Reuter, MINI Product Management)

MINI Connected communicates via the iPhone in two directions, providing two different concepts in the process: “MINI Connected Live” and “MINI Connected Buddy”. The “MINI Connected Live” Project uses access to the internet through a Smartphone to provide a connection to the world outside the car. Apart
from web functions such as a local search or the use of web radio in the car, “MINI Connected Live” allows direct connections to social communities such as Facebook or Twitter.
Such integration allows the intuitive use of all functions through the car-specific MINI control concept.
“MINI Connected Buddy”, on the other hand, enables the Smartphone to access vehicle- and environment-specific car data through a vehicle interface specifically configured for this purpose, then using such data for various functions.

One example is Mission Control, where the car refers the driver through its own voice to incidents in the vehicle itself and the surrounding area. Quite literally, therefore, the MINI communicates directly with the driver.

Taking signals from the car, “Dynamic Music”, as another example, generates the appropriate sound track. The dynamic behaviour of the vehicle is converted directly into acoustic feedback and the music is adjusted accordingly. So together with sound effects matching the music played, the occupants in the MINI experience the joy of motoring also through the music they hear.

The MINI Music Map.

Introducing the MINI Music Map, MINI presents a simple and attractive option for the future, showing how increasing data volume in music archives may be kept easily accessible and controllable in the car. To do this, music is structured like on a map, forming various islands with different genres or artists.
This map concept offers a number of benefits: First, it provides a quick overview of the music files; second, it allows rapid access to the desired music files in just a few steps.

Portable data memories these days have increasing capacity. The latest iPod Classic, for example, offers up to 160 GB memory for music or other files – equal to some 40,000 songs to which the customer would like to have access also while driving. And how such enormous amounts of music data may be made accessible in the vehicle in future, we see from the MINI Music Map Research Project, with the driver taking his music collection along every time he goes for a drive.

>“Particularly on long distances, you don’t want entertainment to become a difficult chore. So the MINI Music Map takes care of your entertainment requirements all by itself.” (Dr Verena Broy, Project Manager MINI Music Map)