A number of automakers have now started integrating existing digital assistant software into their vehicles, such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri.

BMW has decided to go its own route in the field of artificial intelligence by announcing its own system, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

Intelligent Personal Assistant is a completely new proprietary in-car AI assistant, which the Bavarian auto giant claims will "enhance the BMW driving experience."

The always on-call technology platform is said to be an intelligent, digital character which is operated simply by the "Hey BMW" prompt. The system is able to serve the driver in a wide range of different ways, including controlling many of the vehicle's settings, the satellite navigation and the entertainment system.

It can also be used to explain vehicle functions, and is even said to be able to conduct a conversation.

And just in case you start to love your electronic personal assistant so much you find yourself spending time sitting in your car interacting with it outside your home or place of work instead of going right in, BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant can also be at your disposal outside the vehicle too.

At home the system can be used with the help of a smart speaker, and when you're out and about it can then be accessed via smartphone. On top of all that, the new system will also be compatible with other digital voice assistants, which means it can then be used as a link to other rapidly growing digital ecosystems.

Due to it being linked up with BMW's Open Mobility Cloud and through the use of artificial intelligence, your BMW personal assistant will be able to enhance its capabilities and grow as time goes by.

Regular updates will be released by the manufacturer so the system can expand the range of functions and skills available to the user.

BMW's Senior Vice President of Digital Products, Dieter May, says of the new system: "BMW's Intelligent Personal Assistant combines with the new BMW Operating System 7.0 to create a brand new, digital form of interaction with your BMW that redefines the whole driving experience."

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will debut in 2019 and mark the start of a new era of drivers being increasingly able to operate their car and access its functions and information through voice control.