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In car entertainment systems: The BMW iDrive

Gone are the days when a cassette deck with bass boost and graphic equaliser was considered the best in car entertainment system you could have in a car. Today, thanks to relentless inventiveness of auto manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford and BMW, even the most budget-conscious car infotainment systems come packed with cutting-edge features, including voice command, Bluetooth and clever GPS-guided navigation systems.

As auto manufacturers continue to push the limits of entertainment and communications technologies with breakaway car innovations, BMW leads from the front. The BMW iDrive system, for example, ranks top among the list of best in-car systems in the market. Cartechnica.co.uk and Driverside.com, for instance, rank the iDrive number one and two respectively in their list of top in-car infotainment systems as of 2011.

The iDrive system

The BMW iDrive is a pioneer infotainment system that relegates highly regarded comfort features like climate control and navigation to a single central mounted control knob. The  mouse-like computerised control knob was designed to remove the many in-car system buttons found in luxury cars.

The idea behind the iDrive control knob was, to free the driver from worrying about handling numerous in-car system buttons while driving and allow him to focus on the road. This ultimately would lead to better driver-vehicle interface and safer driving.

In being the first automotive user interface of its kind, however, the BMW iDrive has not been without a share of challenges. For instance, some BMW owners have found it challenging to navigate comfort features using the system. Also, some past system functionality problems have not helped things either.

Bottom line

Improvements to the iDrive system, however, have made it one of the most polished and intuitive in car entertainment system in the market. The car system now features a cleaner user interface, fully integrated voice commands, an impressive navigation system as well as climate, audio, phone and force feedback. Many BMW owners who eventually lean how to use the iDrive say they can’t think of a better way to access their luxury car comfort features.

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