BMW's New Dashboards Are Adding Some Extra Google Magic

In 2017, Google announced a full operating system designed for vehicles called Android Automotive OS (AAOS). The platform is essentially an extension of the operating system found on Android phones and tablets, but it is designed for vehicles. Unlike Android Auto, which requires the driver to connect their smartphone to a vehicle's infotainment system to access the various Android features like navigation, AAOS comes preloaded in models that offer it. The lack of a smartphone tether means AAOS can offer deep integration with the vehicle itself, making it possible for drivers to directly access climate controls and more. As we've previously noted, automakers are also free to customize the AAOS interface to offer unique experiences.

Volvo and Audi use AAOS for some of their models, as does the Polestar 2, and now BMW is joining the ever-growing list of automakers that will utilize Google's automotive operating system. Though some details are still pending, the automaker has announced that the big change is scheduled to arrive in early 2023.

BMW has big plans for Android Automotive OS

BMW announced plans to integrate Android Automotive OS "as a second technological approach" on June 28. According to the automaker, some of its model series will get the AAOS integration starting in March 2023, meaning it won't replace BMW's existing Linux-based platform. Rather, BMW SVP of Connected Company and Development Technical Operations Stephan Durach explained in a press release that the automaker intends to integrate "the best aspects of all worlds – that could be our own in-house developments, Open Source or commercial software products, depending on what the specific solution looks like."

Though the automaker didn't elaborate on which model series will be first in the pipeline to get this integration, it did say that by adding AAOS, the infotainment systems in its vehicles can be "individually configured." It's important to note that this is an expansion of the BMW Operating System 8 platform, and the automaker reassures its customers that post-expansion, they'll still get the expected OTA software updates "at regular intervals."

BMW didn't get into specifics about why it has decided to integrate AAOS, though it did mention that this expanded platform will be suitable for use across various model series and that, among other things, it'll mean additional "features and options" for drivers going forward– none of which have been revealed at this time. Regardless, the announcement isn't surprising. Rumors about the AAOS integration began swirling earlier this year when it was noted that BMW had been hiring employees to work on an Android Automotive OS and AOSP project.