BMW connecteddrive.automotiveIT

BMW's new ConnectedDrive infotainment features improved navigation (Photo: BMW)

BMW has opened a new software development unit as it tries to strengthen its position in car connectivity.

All premium car companies have unveiled new, feature-rich infotainment and connectivity offerings. They include improved in-car internet connections, more driver-assistance functions, better navigation and upgraded information and entertainment systems.

But BMW was among the first to highlight car connectivity when it launched its BMW ConnectedDrive strategy in 2005.

The premium carmaker said its new software development unit, which has a staff of 60, has started operations in the city of Ulm in southern Germany.

The unit, which is part of BMWs' Car IT subsidiary, will focus heavily on connected-car technologies. But the programmers will also work in other areas, including software for driving dynamics, camera-based driver assistance, and various infotainment functions.

BMW highlighted in a press release the strategic importance of software for the brand. "A substantial part of differentiating innovations is software," the company said.

The carmaker said it wants to provide an environment where software developers can unleash their creativity.

"At BMW, software engineers have a unique possibility to program emotions," said Elmar Frickenstein, the BMW executive in charge of electrical and electronic products and software.