ELKHART LAKE, WI – GoPro, the go-anywhere, do-anything camera used by base jumpers, skydivers and rock climbers to document their thrill-seeking endeavors, has a new relationship with BMW intended to capture video of the Ultimate Driving Machine in action.

The relationship was announced here this week at Road America during the media launch of the all-new M3 sedan and M4 coupe, which go on sale this summer.

Dozens of GoPro cameras were installed on the vehicles, as well as on vintage BMW racecars, to capture hot laps on this famous road course.

Compact, lightweight and encased in a seemingly indestructible plastic case, GoPro cameras are amazingly versatile, and numerous mounting brackets are available to secure the camera to nearly any surface or to a person’s chest or head.

GoPro cameras frequently generate some of the most heavily watched videos on YouTube. The company is preparing to go public. WardsAuto uses a Hero3+ GoPro for vehicle evaluations.

“This relationship with BMW is very much a strategic product opportunity for GoPro,” says Adam Silver, GoPro director-strategic product opportunities.

“GoPro has deep roots in motorsports and is passionate about enabling drivers to capture their road or track experience,” Silver says. “The GoPro and BMW collaboration sets a new standard in the category and is an important first step in a partnership designed to deliver next-level integration between camera and car.”

GoPro cameras can be mounted inside or outside a vehicle and will function at any speed. One drawback of the compact device is its lack of a viewfinder, which leaves a user hoping the camera is correctly positioned to capture a certain image or angle.

BMW’s new integration of GoPro technology allows a driver to set up a camera and then see on the vehicle’s high-resolution display screen in the center stack exactly what the camera sees, and then make adjustments if necessary. The image goes away when the vehicle is moving.

The camera connects with the vehicle through a wireless link to a smartphone that needs to be plugged into the car via a USB jack.

Using the vehicle’s iDrive central controller, drivers can toggle through options and settings for the camera, as if they were changing radio stations.

In the same way, the camera’s recording function can be started and stopped, and vital camera status indicators are displayed, including recording elapsed time, battery life and Wi-Fi signal strength. Users also can select the camera’s sleep mode to prolong battery life between shots.

“We had a vision, and we wanted to figure out a way to make our app work with a BMW vehicle in an elegant and integrated way,” Silver says. “So that’s what we’ve done.”
The system allows drivers to choose between six pre-set camera modes: Leisure Drive Facing Out, Night Driving, Sport Drive Facing Out, Drive Camera Facing In, Winding Road Time-lapse and Straight Road Time-lapse.

Starting next month, the integration will be functional on all ’12 and later BMW Group vehicles equipped with the BMW Apps or MINI Connected option. The system only works with GoPro’s most recent Wi-Fi-enabled cameras (Hero3+ and later).

GoPro is the latest app partnership for BMW, which already has ties with services such as Pandora, Stitcher, Audible and Glympse.

tmurphy@wardsauto.com