• Jun 17, 2010
BMW microNavigation – Click above for high-res image gallery

That ultra-expensive in-dash navigation system can be a huge help when finding a destination in an unfamiliar area. Unfortunately, if you're just a visitor, it might not be clear where to park your car or enter the building once you get there. Current navigation systems, both in-dash and hand-held types, have limited databases of such detailed information.

That's why BMW is developing a microNavigation system called Pathfinder to supplement the data stored onboard the car. Pathfinder allows you to download more detailed information about your destination in the form of a MicroMap to a memory card before you leave the house. When the card is inserted into the car, the data is added to the built-in navigation information. The more detailed information can even work with a camera used for lane departure warning to tell the driver which lane they should be in to catch ramps and entries to highways or parking structures.

Once the car is parked, the data can be transferred to a smartphone or other mobile device for the final leg of the trip. The phone can guide you directly to your destination and in can even remember where you parked. When more vehicles are offered with their own mobile data connections, this data could even be downloaded directly straight to the car on the fly. Of course, all of this requires the creation of far more detailed maps than exist today, and it's not clear if current map data providers will produce these microMaps. Google Is incorporating much of this information from its search index, however, and following its recent deals with Ford and General Motors' OnStar, it could soon be the default provider for every automaker.



[Source: BMW]
Show full PR text
Pathfinder from BMW. Intelligent and networked microNavigation for destinations not yet covered in current systems or only with incomplete coverage.

* 15.06.2010
* Press Release


Munich . Just imagine that you are on your way to BMW Welt and you know that you have to get your tickets for the guided tour through the BMW Munich Plant at the Info Counter South. The following questions occur to you in quick succession: Where can I park? How do I get into the multi-storey car park and how can I find my way around in BMW Welt? Naturally, the navigation system can show you the way to BMW Welt. Unfortunately, more detailed information on complex destination venues like this is not available – yet. Specialists at BMW Group Research and Technology have taken up this challenge with the aim of giving BMW drivers even more confidence and convenience.


More detailed map display in complex destination areas.

The experts are unlocking completely new potential for navigation in the microNavigation research project. The researchers are using the BMW 3 Series as a prototype. A detailed large-scale map display allows complex enclosed destination areas to be visualised which are not covered by road maps in today's navigation systems or only have incomplete coverage. This extended navigation solution does not abandon drivers where conventional navigation leaves off. Even outside the vehicle, a mobile unit guides drivers to their desired destination and back to the vehicle. "The realistic visualisation of a building like a complex multi-storey car park by means of a micro-Navigation card in the Central Information Display of the research prototype gives the user a clear navigation and information advantage that goes significantly beyond the conventional scope of a road navigation solution," explains Carsten Isert, Project Manager for microNavigation at BMW Group Research and Technology.

Looking at it in detail, the system works like this: Drivers are able to download information about their destination in advance on their home PC. If there is a microMap for the destination area, the driver is offered this automatically and they can select their destination within the microMap. This destination is automatically transferred with the map data to the vehicle and augments the navigation available there. Naturally, sometime in the future it will also be possible to download microMaps at will while the driver is on the move. Researchers have also developed lane-specific positioning for the vehicle by networking camera information, GPS coordinates and map data. The driver is guided to the desired destination on a lane-specific route – for example a free parking space near the lift in the best position. Detailed maps in combination with precise car-park positioning provide support for drivers in finding their way around car parks and during the journey. After parking the vehicle, the data can be transferred to the driver's mobile device. This handheld then provides continuous navigation and helps drivers to navigate on foot in complex and unknown destination areas. "microNavigation gives drivers tailor-made navigation during the journey and at the destination and thereby significantly increases confidence and convenience," adds Robert Hein, Head of Navigation and Data Services of the Future at BMW Research and Technology.


Many years of experience in the development of navigation systems.

The advance of today's BMW navigation systems compared with retrofit solutions and dedicated solutions installed in vehicles by other manufacturers is ultimately derived from a long track record of experience. BMW was the first manufacturer in Europe to launch an integrated navigation system for a series vehicle in 1994. This formed one of the foundation stones for innovative systems to network vehicles with their surrounding environment. Today, these systems are grouped under the concept of BMW ConnectedDrive. BMW is consistently developing its navigation systems with the aim of maintaining its leadership position in this area. Development is focusing on innovative supplementary functions designed to enhance safety and convenience. BMW Research and Technology is also playing an important role with the microNavigation research project.


BMW Group Research and Technology
BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW AG and has been responsible for research at the BMW Group since 2003. VehicleTechnology, CleanEnergy (hydrogen technology), EfficientDynamics (intelligent energy management/alternative drive systems), ConnectedDrive (driver assistance/active safety) and ITDrive (IT and communications technology) activities all come under its umbrella. Its legal independence as a GmbH (limited company) ensures creative freedom and unbeatable flexibility. Worldwide access to trends and technologies is provided by an established international network with bases in the USA (Palo Alto, CA and Clemson, SC) and Japan (Tokyo), plus Liaison Offices in France with Eurécom (Sophia Antipolis) and in Germany in the shape of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) in Saarbrücken.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do we REALLY need to have a computer tell us where to park, and enter a building? The average person already has pretty minimal problem-solving abilities these days, is this where it's heading? I guess after hearing about the moron suing Google because the walking instructions on her hand-held told her to walk across a busy street, anything's possible.
      Sad state of affairs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I definitely see usefulness in a feature like this. Sure, it's not needed in the suburbs or smaller towns where traffic is light and parking plentiful, or in places you are familiar with.

        But I can say from experience that when the GPS delivers you to an address in an unfamiliar city, and that address is the front entrance to a 40 story office tower on a packed street, you really wish the directions had told you where to park first.
        This could save lots of time spent searching for the nearest parking garage and even perhaps reduce the number of idiot drivers darting suddenly across three lanes of traffic because they didn't realize where they needed to turn.
        Can Google maps/streetview do essentially the same? Sure, but given the generally low level of driving skill most people exhibit, I definitely think having this integrated into the nav system will reduce the distraction that would otherwise come from looking down at their smartphone or printed maps!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree. The movie "Idiocracy" is coming true, slowly but surely.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sync/OnStar could probably just have a locator chip that communicates with a phone app for the parking location portion.