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AirTouch - contactless touchscreen technology. / 10-Jan-2016

AirTouch - contactless touchscreen technology.


Increased networking between driver, vehicle and environment is facilitating new services. One such example is AirTouch. Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by BMW Group, it provides intuitive control of the car's entertainment, navigation and communication functions using simple hand gestures.
AirTouch allows the display in a vehicle to be operated like a touchscreen, but without actually having to make contact with the surface. Sensors record the hand movements in the area between the central console and the interior mirror, enabling the driver or passengers to change the content displayed on the large panorama display. Simple confirmation selects the relevant menu item or activates an icon.
Sensors on the dashboard for 3D control. 
Last year, BMW presented gesture control at the CES, enabling simple finger movements to adjust the loudness of the in car entertainment, or accept phone calls. This technology is currently available as BMW Gesture Control in the new BMW 7 Series. AirTouch takes this a step further. Sensors installed in the dashboard respond to hand movements, and so allow three-dimensional control. A movement of the hand or a gesture activates the surfaces on the large panorama display.
AirTouch has another option to confirm actions - a concealed AirTouch button on the rim of the steering wheel. Within easy reach of the driver's left thumb, it lights up when a menu or icon can be activated. One tap is sufficient to activate the desired program or change a setting. A similar button is positioned in the side sill door area for passenger use, enabling them to use one hand to navigate through the menu, and the other hand to confirm inputs.
The intelligent AirTouch menu control reduces the number of steps needed to make a selection. For example, when activating the phone pad, the system automatically brings up contacts or call lists to the top select level, so that a call can be made with just one further action. AirTouch recognises which selection and control steps are required next and displays them in advance. This allows the driver to concentrate on the road ahead, and offers additional convenient control options when the vehicle is travelling in highly automated mode.



What if you could choose any BMW from the trillion of available configurations, pay for it with your bank card and have it have it delivered without ever having to step outside the comfort of your home? Well now you can. In 2015 BMW became the first premium car manufacturer to offer complete end-to-end car buying service online.
The launch of BMW Retail Online marked the latest chapter in the evolution of retail, one that sets “a new benchmark for the automotive industry” [Ian Robertson, Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing]. As part of the wider launch campaign, we partnered with Shazam to create an innovative art installation at the recently redeveloped King’s Cross station in London. 
What does a retail store with a trillion BMW cars really look like? What does being able to buy a BMW from anywhere really mean? We let these two questions capture our imagination. Result? Unique, attention grabbing visuals adorned Print and OOH media. Innovative art installation at the recently redeveloped King’s Cross station in London, exhibited more than a thousand BMW cars. It allowed passers-by to purchase their favourite BMW right there and then by simply Shazaming their favourite car image, all whilst sipping their favourite brand of latte.
During the event, estimated 400,000 visitors to King’s Cross had the opportunity to engage with the installation and discover their Ultimate Driving Machine.

Oxford Brookes and BMW Group offer unique degree. / 17-Dec-2015

Oxford Brookes and BMW Group offer unique degree.

Oxford Brookes University in partnership with BMW Group launches an innovative new undergraduate course at the Oxford Brookes Open Day on Saturday 6th June.
The BSc (Hons) Business and Automotive Management is a specialist course within the Business School, specifically for those who wish to pursue a career in the automotive sector.  Students will study internationally and gain valuable work experience with a globally established automobile manufacturer.
During this four-year programme students will spend their first year of the course studying at Oxford Brookes and the second year studying at OTH Regensburg, Technical University of Applied Sciences, Germany. The third year will be spent in work placement at BMW Group Plant Regensburg and MINI Plant Oxford for six months each. The fourth and final year of study will be at Oxford Brookes.
"Our Business School is known internationally for its learning and teaching and Oxford Brookes has an outstanding track record for producing employable graduates."
Dr Tony Gibbs, Head of the Department of Business and Management at Oxford Brookes University
The course prepares students for a career in the automotive industry and is tailored specifically to meet the needs of BMW Group as a potential employer. BMW Group will support students’ learning and development throughout the course via a mentorship scheme involving BMW Group managers drawn from a variety of organisational functions at both BMW Plant Regensburg and MINI Plant Oxford.
Dr Tony Gibbs, Head of the Department of Business and Management at Oxford Brookes University, said: “Our Business School is known internationally for its learning and teaching and Oxford Brookes has an outstanding track record for producing employable graduates.
“I am delighted to be able to offer prospective students this unique and exciting opportunity to study with Brookes, BMW Group and OTH Regensburg which will, no doubt, lead to career opportunities.”
Commenting on the new undergraduate course, Bob Shankly, HR Director for BMW Group Manufacturing in the UK, said:  "Employers today are working far more closely with universities and colleges to ensure courses better reflect the skills and knowledge actually required in the workplace. We're delighted to have had the opportunity to develop this new degree in collaboration with Oxford Brookes and look forward to welcoming the first students on the course."
With the introduction of this course, Oxford Brookes will be building upon a long-established relationship between BMW and its department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (MEMS).
Oxford Brookes is proud of its partnerships with BMW Group which extends from apprentice training on foundation degrees, through to research and development activities such as the high profile MINI E trials. The two organisations have also shared significant achievements such as the notable 150thanniversary of Oxford Brookes where BMW Group features strongly in the celebration of engineering heritage.
Business and Automotive Management students will complete an engineering module within the MEMS department in order to understand the technical side of the business, which BMW Group requires of their graduate employees.
More information about the Business and Automotive Management course, entry requirements and how to apply can be found on the Oxford Brookes undergraduate course web pages.



Key Announcements

  • Reversal of abolition of 3% diesel company car tax charge from April 2016
  • Extra support for the manufacture of ultra-low emitting vehicles (ULEV)
  • Announcement to end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash insurance claims
  • No change to road fuel duty rates
  • Removal of 3% diesel company car tax charge from April 2016 

Removal of 3% diesel company car tax charge from April 2016
The Chancellor stated that the removal of the 3% diesel company car tax charge planned for April 2016, and firts announced in the Budget of 2012, is postponed until April 2012. The move means that drivers of diesel cars will see higher than expected company car tax liabilities from April 2016 compared with 2015/16 instead of the anticipated small reduction.

To see examples of how the retention of the 3% tax charge affects the actual monthly BIK tax liabilities for drivers choosing a BMW 320d SE or a BMW520d SE as a company car, download the pdf.

Extra support for the manufacture of ULEV
The Chancellor announced that Government will spend more than £600 million between 2015/16 and 2020/21 to support uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) in the UK, with the aim for all new cars to be effectively zero emission by 2040. A target for 25% of European ULEV to be built in the UK has also been set. The result if the investment is anticipated to save 65 million tonnes of CO2 and help address long-term urban air quality issues.

Announcement to end the right to cash compensation for minor whiplash insurance claims
Measures to end the right to cash compensation for minor 'whiplash' injuries will be introduced, with consultation on the detail due to start in early 2016. The Chancellor said whiplash claims cost the country £2 billion per year, an average of £90 per motor insurance policy.

The move is aimed at ending higher premiums for responsible motorists caused by false claims by others, and would remove more than £1 billion from the cost of providing motor insurance. The Government's expectation is that the insurance industry will pass an average saving of £40 to £50 per motor insurance policy on to consumers.

No change to fuel duty rates
The Chancellor announced no fuel duty rate cuts, stating that the cancellation of the planned September 2015 duty increase will have saved a small business with a van £1,357 in fuel costs by the end of 2015/16.

BMW and Bill Plant Driving School Partnership. / 02-Nov-2015

BMW and Bill Plant Driving School Partnership.

We are delighted to announce our new large-scale partnership with Bill Plant Driving School. With over 700 fully qualified driving instructors, Bill Plant operates throughout England, Scotland and Wales to provide a professional, relaxed and encouraging environment for learner drivers.
With plans to supply 3,600 vehicles over the next three years, the BMW 1 Series will become the new lead model for the nationwide organisation of driving instructors. Bill Plant will also replace all of their automatic transmission vehicles with BMW i3 range extender models over the same three year period.
Providing better fuel economy and a higher level of standard specification than the company’s previous lead model, the Audi A3, the BMW 1 Series is the ideal choice for driving instructors.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal and unrivalled road presence, this model range boasts a selection of technology that can vastly improve the learner driver experience. Instructors will benefit from an expanded range of BMW EfficientDynamics features, Electric Power Steering, Brake Energy Regeneration and an Auto Start Stop function, a feature which is also available in conjunction with an automatic transmission. Standard equipment also includes ECO PRO mode, which can be activated using the included Driving Experience Control switch.
This new partnership marks the driving school’s ongoing efforts to improve the experience of their qualified instructors and learner drivers alike. While their new lead model will surely attract many new customers, the company has also greatly reduced its sign writing to further enhance the model’s appeal among the younger generation.
To find out more about this partnership, visit Bill Plant Driving School’s website.
Learn more about the BMW 1 Series here.  
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