robthebold
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 5:09 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:17 pm

jfran2 wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:09 am
I find that curious too, that the car's location and state of charge are always spot on, but the commands from the app don't seem to be able to be executed. One would think that if the data can flow one way, it out to be able to go the other.
Unlike people, the physical world -- including the stuff bulit by us humans -- often doesn't respond to our philosophical implorations.

One case is the connecteddrive system, which seems like it should work one way but actually works differently. Requests for the status of the vehicle work like:

(your device) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (BMW server) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (your device)
(Where ( ( 0 ) ) is the "internet cloud" between devices.)
So that's simple: your device requests the latest status from the BMW server which returns it to you -- and usually quickly and reliably.

What you don't see going on is that the BMW server has been hanging on to that last status value for possibly quite a while. For instance, I just checked my car's status at 6:22. The last update was at 5:34 due to "vehicle shutdown". I checked again at 6:41, and the result was the same. Now the status was, as you say, spot on because nothing has changed since the car shut down. It hasn't moved. The doors haven't been opened or unlocked. It wasn't plugged into a charger. &c. If something like that had happened, it would have triggered a new status update and that new status would then persist at the server until the next change. So then at 6:42, I remotely unlocked the doors (successfully) and checked the status again. Now the status shows "selective unlocked" with an update time of 6:43.

Here's the difference between polling status and sending a remote service command . . .

When you trigger something like remote unlock service, a sequence like this occurs:

(your device) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (BMW server) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (car) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (BMW server) -> ( ( 0 ) ) -> (your device)
This chain of events has several more opportunities for something to go wrong or to timeout. Why this process (of sending commands) isn't more reliable, we can only speculate. Perhaps the BMW server isn't patient enough re: timeouts. Perhaps it gives up too easily and doesn't retry enough on failure. Perhaps the server and car get stuck in a command/response race with retry delays causing messages back and forth to pass each other in transit and result in unknown/unexpected states on one or other end of the transaction.

But anyway, getting the vehicle status is quicker and more reliable than triggering a remote service, since the status "update" is just a matter of requesting the most recently reported values from the BMW server.

3pete
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:12 pm

I don't disagree with you and this is a gripe against BMW not your post, but to cut right to the chase: I don't care that there are more opportunities for failure in sending a command to the car vs. receiving a status. Cell phones have long (for 10+ years) been able to send a text message and if the message doesn't send within a minute, they can automatically resend when service is available. With the internet, this is even easier to do.

It's inexcusable that the BMW app reports errors like "command not executed" instead of "the BMW server tried to contact your car and it never got a response, so this wasn't executed". They should identify whether the error is between your phone and the BMW server or between the BMW server and your car. That should be easy to do and it should have been done before this feature left beta status.

Similarly, it's telling that the exact same app that indicates your battery is 76% charged also lists a possible reason that a command may not be executed as "The Remote Services can only be performed with a sufficient battery charge." That reason is listed next to a bunch of other reasons that aren't even applicable, like if you're trying to precondition, keep in mind that "Remote Services 'Unlock' and 'Lock' can only be performed if all doors are closed", or that "The Remote Service headlight flash will only work when the ignition is turned off".

I'm not trying to Lock or Unlock, or flash the headlights, I'm trying to precondition!

Seriously BMW, has anyone that works on your app ever used it?!

If ConnectedDrive was permanently free, some of these things might be excusable but even at that point it's a bit embarrassing for a "premium brand" like BMW. The crazy thing is that BMW doesn't seem to be embarrassed by it (or even care at all). The crazier thing is they want people to pay a monthly subscription for this?

robthebold
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 5:09 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:58 pm

3pete wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:12 pm
I don't disagree with you and this is a gripe against BMW not your post, but to cut right to the chase: I don't care that there are more opportunities for failure in sending a command to the car vs. receiving a status. Cell phones have long (for 10+ years) been able to send a text message and if the message doesn't send within a minute, they can automatically resend when service is available. With the internet, this is even easier to do.
I agree with your complaints. And, ya, the back end should be more robust and the front end (just the app, now that the web interface is gone :( ) should be more helpful with error messages and overall usability. In both cases, I get the sense that there isn't a strong commitment to putting in the necessary resources to do that on the corporate side.

And I don't mean to excuse BMW, but I did want to point out the technical reasons that one group of functions might seem to work fine while others (that seem like they're related) fail. Mainly to help the user better figure out what went wrong since the "official" error messages are -- as you noted -- less than useful.

Fisher99
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:15 pm

I have been told that the app that we use on the i3 is the same app that is used on all current model BMW's (at least the ones that support remote operations). That includes the most expensive 7 Series cars. If that is true, and it fails on those cars as well, then I am baffled that BMW hasn't fixed it. However, if it is just failing on older i3's and actually requires some hardware upgrade on the i3 to make it reliable, then maybe that's a different thing. Still inexcusable, but perhaps different.

My i3 is going in to the dealer for service tomorrow (first since I have owned it) and I plan to ask them about this.

robthebold
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat May 11, 2019 5:09 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:14 pm

Fisher99 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:15 pm
I have been told that the app that we use on the i3 is the same app that is used on all current model BMW's (at least the ones that support remote operations). That includes the most expensive 7 Series cars. If that is true, and it fails on those cars as well, then I am baffled that BMW hasn't fixed it.
The app is the same, as is the backend infrastructure. But consider the problem areas: remote services (charge now, horn honk, light flash, precondition, door lock/unlock). The most interesting features really only apply to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Petroleum-powered 750 drivers wouldn't care if remote A/C didn't work on electric BMWs . . . Sure horn honk and light flash might be flaky for them too, but does anyone really depend on that feature of connecteddrive or just use the keyfob?

If there was an i10 all-electric full-size Tesla-fighter luxury sedan, you could bet something expensive on sentimental on connecteddrive remote services working flawlessly. :D

Fisher99
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:43 am

Well, if I had a $90k 7 series I'd certainly want remote start and remote lock/unlock to work reliably. Remote lock/unlock doesn't even work reliably on my i3, so I'm wondering why it would on a 7 series. Going to ask the dealer about this today, although I doubt they will be of much help.

alohart
Posts: 2041
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: ConnectedDrive

Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:09 pm

I just sent remote unlock and lock commands to our 2014 BEV using the iOS version of BMW Connected 10.4.1634. Both commands completed successfully according to the user interface of the app.

Unfortunately, the status did not update immediately after each command which made me question whether the commands had indeed completed successfully. Status updates occurred 28 minutes after the unlock and 15 minutes after the lock commands were sent indicating success for both commands.

The command history indicated that the unlock command was successful but that the lock command failed despite the user interface and the eventual status updates indicating success for both commands.

The remote command system could certainly be improved, but my limited testing suggests that it works in my situation.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

eNate
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:49 pm

I may as well add my 2¢.

The app works -- mostly -- for me.

Not to defend BMW, because it certainly needs improvement.

I can reliably climatize on command. I've programmed my schedule and it executes every time. No problem locking or unlocking. When my charging season unexpectedly stopped, when I checked, the app indicated this.

I've experienced a few days of outage, where my charging status doesn't update, but all else works. That was an exception.

If it's not a coverage issue with where the car is parked, then I'd suspect a car or account-specific issue. I'd go so far as to try on a different phone, perform a reset of the iDrive system, or even attempt to deregister / re-register the account with BMW as if it were a new owner.

I wish BMW would get off their kiester and dress this system up. The remedies I'm suggesting are workarounds, and should't be necessary. The app should notify ME if the car stops charging. I should be able to set a charging percentage as a stop point. The app should predict for me the expected state of charge at given times, particularly my next scheduled departure time. I should be informed when the battery is being preconditioned, or if the cabin is being climatized according to schedule, and how much current it's drawing. If I'm running late, allow me to easily delay, extend, or cancel climitazaton, and tell me a time when the process will automatically shut down.

I'm guessing iDrive is "nice to have" on internal combustion models, but it clearly takes a setup up in importance on the i3.
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Fisher99
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: ConnectedDrive

Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:18 pm

Mine is hit and miss on the climatize function. Worked great for most of the summer and now hasn't worked reliably for the last couple of months. It's not related to the location of the car since it is failing in the exact same places that it worked before. And it's not an AT&T coverage issue either.

I had my car at the dealer today and asked them about it. The service writer just smiled and said that everybody, regardless of the year or model of the BMW, has the same complaint. She has a fairly new 3 series and says that it fails more than it works for her. When I asked her why a company like BMW wasn't more interested in getting this fixed, she just shrugged and said that she hasn't been able to get any feedback from BMW on that issue.

I remain greatly baffled by this. Wish I knew how to get the attention of someone at BMW who might listen. Anybody know of a BMW complaint line or website?

vreihen
Posts: 303
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: ConnectedDrive

Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:41 am

Fisher99 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:18 pm
Wish I knew how to get the attention of someone at BMW who might listen.
Dollars to donut spares, BMW North America's executives eat their own dog food (drive BMW cars) and are aware of the problem.

It would be interesting to park an i3 near the Chargepoint at their NJ HQ and see if the ConnectedDrive app works properly there.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 15K miles

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