Trevor Collett | Jan 29, 2014

BMW is working to expand its ConnectedDrive in-car infotainment system, with a trial program ‘virtual marketplace of the future’.

The program is designed to make it easier for companies to ‘advertise’ while you’re on the move - but only ads that are relevant to the driver’s current needs, and “only if the driver wants”.

BMW uses the example of a driver looking for somewhere on the satellite navigation system to refuel the vehicle, and being offered a free cup of coffee if they choose a particular service station.

If the driver agrees, the sat-nav will then guide them to that particular service station, where the driver can use their smart phone to claim the reward.

ConnectedDrive already offers information on nearby service stations, hotels, restaurants and more, using the vehicle’s current location as a guide, but this will be the first time companies have been able to influence the driver’s decision, using offers and advertising.

“In our vision for a virtual marketplace of the future, the vehicle will provide customers with context-adaptive, preference-based and timely offers and information relevant to their route,” BMW’s Dr Jörg Preißinger said.

BMW formed a partnership with software manufacturer SAP in 2012, with the latter developing a cloud-based virtual marketplace with a focus on ‘real-time offers’ based on the driver’s current location.

An app installed in a BMW 7 Series test vehicle was then used to transmit offers to the driver, along with monitoring the driver’s journey to suggest other services along the way, such as parking close to the driver’s destination.

No word yet on when we’ll see this technology rolled out across the BMW range, but with the idea of sending user-specific offers and advertisements straight to a car’s display screen, we suspect it will be sooner rather than later.

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