Get ready, “Hey MINI” is something we’re going to saying a lot. According to sources BMW is prepping a MINI version of the recently announced BMW personal assistant. Powered by articificial intelligence the MINI Personal Assistant will allow drivers to operate and know more about their car by voice. Think of this as Alexa or Siri specifically built for your MINI.

Assuming MINI follows BMW’s lead, the personal assistant will also be able to assist the driver outside their vehicle, whether it’s at home with the help of a smart speaker or out and about via smartphone. What’s more, he/she will be compatible with other digital voice assistants beyond Amazon Alexa, too, providing a link to other rapidly growing ecosystems.

Crucially BMW has made the platform open for anyone to develop for. BMW’s Open Mobility Cloud should allow for a constantly expanding set of functionality powered by developers and the use of artificial intelligence.

 In-Car Virtual Assistant -
 In-Car Virtual Assistant -

While details are slim still, we know quite a lot thanks to what has been released on the debut of the BMW Personal Assistant.

We know that it learns routines and habits, and is subsequently able to apply them in the appropriate context. It will help the driver, learn their preferences and is familiar with their favoured settings – e.g. for the seat heating or the places they drive to frequently using the navigation system (“Take me home”). One unique feature over other digital assistants is that drivers can give him/her a name (for example, “Charlie” or “Joy”) to lend him even greater individuality and personality.

He/she will be likely familiar with the vehicle’s functions and is able to operate them as required. Saying “Hey BMW, I’m cold” will prompt the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to adjust the temperature inside the car accordingly. The assistant will benefit from constant technical upgrades and be able to learn more and more preferences and favoured settings. The assistant takes further strides forward with every command given, every question asked and every setting made. Forming the basis for all of this will be the portable, digital customer profile – the BMW ID. This profile links the car to the customer and their digital world. It’s assumed MINI will have an identical ID system as well.

A technical advisor for your MINI

The arrival of the MINI Intelligent Personal Assistant should ensure there is always a MINI professional on board. He/she will be able to explain all sorts of different functions (“How does the High Beam Assistant work?”), provide current status information (“Is the oil level okay?”) and help answer questions (“What warning messages do I have?”).

The BMW system knows the driver’s favourite settings, and can even activate a combination of them to enhance well-being. For instance, “Hey BMW, I feel tired” triggers a vitality programme that adjusts the lighting mood, music and temperature, among other things, in order to make the driver feel more awake. In future, the assistant will also be able to give fuel-saving driving tips or think ahead and warn drivers as necessary. He could alert the driver to problems (“tire pressure is low”), for example, remind the driver of service appointments and even arrange an appointment.

Coming to BMW cars from March 2019.

The Intelligent Personal Assistant will be available in a basic version with voice control in 23 languages and markets from March 2019. In the USA, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, Japan and (from May 2019) China, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will also feature more natural voice control along with further intelligent functions. The personal assistant will be offered for models featuring the new BMW Operating System 7.0 and as part of the Live Cockpit Professional (6U3). The scope of functions can be extended with the Connected Package Professional.

When will we see it in MINI’s?

MINI will have its own version of live cockpit with its all new all digital display coming late next year in the electric MINI and refreshed Countryman (we assume it will quickly spread to the rest of the range as an option). Based on BMW’s rollout we expect the MINI Personal Assistant to debut around that time in late 2019.