If you haven’t noticed lately, there are now a slew of cars that offer in-car restaurant recommendations, and there will now be a slew more: BMW has announced that it will integrate Yelp into its BMW Assist system.
While many cars have navigation systems that have databases full of points of interest, BMW’s new tech integration goes one step further by curating that list and actually making recommendations. In the case of BMW Assist, drivers can search for businesses (including restaurants) and also find their composite ratings (out of five stars) from the Yelp community, as well as have the last three reviews read over the stereo system.
The system is available for customers who have vehicles with navigation systems and have subscribed to the BMW Assist Convenience Plan, the optional suite of telematics services. BMW also promises that the sky’s the limit now that the Yelp application is live--it will get more applications in the future, although the automaker was mum about exactly which ones.
BMW joins a cadre of other vehicles that can actually find you a good meal, not just a phonebook listing for the nearest restaurant. For a number of years, Acura and Honda have offered Zagat-guided navigation on cars like the MDX, Accord, and RL, which allows customers to find a restaurant by Zagat rating (out of 30 points). The same Zagat guide has also been integrated over the years into select Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Nissan, and Lexus systems.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s new Entune system has teamed up with OpenTable, which filters restaurants by rating and can actually make reservations on the go, when the Entune navigation system is tethered to an internet-connected smartphone.
Finally, Audi is finally wading into battle with its Audi connect system. Cars like the A6, A7, and A8 have the option of adding a wireless modem to the MMI infotainment interface, which adds Google local search. What sets this apart from other Google searches, however, is that it also allows users to look at Google Local entries, which include ratings from customers.
There’s obviously no clear winner here yet, and the idea of, say, having your car find you a romantic dinner for two while you’re late and racing to pick up your date certainly has the possibility of saving an intimate night out or two.