Stuttgart/Frankfurt. Mercedes me provides personalised access to the individual and exclusive world of Mercedes-Benz, which revolves around the customer. One part of this initiative is Mercedes connect me.
Launched a year ago, the system enables customers throughout Europe to link up with their vehicles from anywhere at any time. Customers with vehicles which have not been Mercedes me-capable to date will soon be able to benefit from a convenient means of linking up their vehicle – with the Mercedes connect me Adapter. In all, it will be possible to retrofit 24 passenger car model series from manufacture year 2002 onwards with this solution, thus enabling secure and reliable access to vehicle information. From the spring of 2016, Mercedes-Benz will be phasing in this connect me product initiative in the European markets in which Mercedes connect me is available.
Another highlight focusing on customer benefit is the new Mercedes me app for iOS and Android smartphones. This enables a host of vehicle status information to be called up, remote control of auxiliary heating or remote opening and locking of doors, for example. The app also allows convenient door-to-door navigation by iPhone and Apple Watch. Less than four months after the first prototype was presented, the Mercedes me app will be available to download for free from the autumn of 2015.
The Mercedes connect me Adapter
To date, Mercedes connect me has been available exclusively to customers buying new cars – the required COM module with SIM card has been on board virtually all model series since September 2014. Under the slogan “Retrofit for the future”, owners of cars which are not yet connect me-capable can also link up with their vehicles and become part of the Mercedes me world: as of the spring of 2016, authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers will be able to retrofit the Mercedes connect me Adapter for a total of 24 car model series from manufacture year 2002 onwards. “Ever more customers wish to be linked up to their car. By extending the Mercedes connect me services to vehicles which have not been connect me-capable to date, we are now enabling millions of customers to fulfil this wish,” explains Ola Källenius, Daimler Management Board Member responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “These Mercedes models can now also become part of the digital lifestyle and allow customers their own personal entrance into the Mercedes me world.”
The authorised Mercedes-Benz dealer will connect the Mercedes connect me Adapter to the vehicle’s onboard diagnostic interface and carry out the necessary settings. In order to use the adapter, the customer must have the corresponding Mercedes connect me Adapter app installed on their smartphone and have a user account at the Mercedes me portal. The adapter communicates via Bluetooth with the customer’s smartphone; the corresponding app requires an internet connection. This retrofit solution will enable millions of vehicles to be linked up to Mercedes me, including large-selling model series such as the E-Class (model series W 211, from manufacture year 2002), the C-Class (W 204, from spring of 2007) or the A-Class (W 169 and W 176, from mid-2004). In future, drivers of these models will thus enjoy convenient access to their vehicle data and be able to use mobility services as well as safety, security and service functions. An overview of all the vehicles for which the Mercedes connect me Adapter will be available from 15.9. at: https://mercedes.me/adapter
The new Mercedes me app.
Another highlight of the Mercedes connect me product initiative at the Frankfurt International Motor Show is the new Mercedes me app. This native application is available for iOS and Android smartphones as well as the Apple Watch, and allows even more convenient access to the Mercedes connect me services.In addition to information on the status of their vehicles, the Mercedes me app also provides customers with continual precise real-time information on the route to their most important destinations. Equally, the next destinations can be sent via the app to the vehicle from the comfort of the user’s home or office, thus avoiding the need to enter data in the vehicle. Another new function which has been integrated in the Mercedes me app is Door-to-Door Navigation.The app first of all shows the route on foot to the car. Once the driver has arrived at the car, the vehicle calls up the data and determines the corresponding route as soon as the driver starts the engine. If the car is parked in the vicinity of the destination, the route for the final metres to the destination is recalculated and relayed to the app.The destination can also be located and displayed with the Apple Watch.
The app has been developed within Daimler’s global R&D network by experts from Sunnyvale/California and Sindelfingen. “It’s not by chance that we have been able to develop the Mercedes me app in the shortest of time,” says Prof. Thomas Weber, Daimler Management Board Member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “We have research and development centres around the globe. In addition to the expertise in technical fields, this also enables us to respond to the specific requirements of markets. Engineering prowess coupled with a culture of innovation allows us to incorporate innovations very quickly into our vehicles and to keep pace with the development cycles in the field of consumer electronics.”
The Mercedes me app will be available to download free of charge from iTunes and Google Play as of the autumn of 2015.
Mercedes connect me: overview of current services
The services offered by “Mercedes connect me” allow customers to connect with their vehicle any time and anywhere. The connectivity services include Accident Recovery, Maintenance Management and Breakdown Management, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system, Telediagnostics and the real-time “Live Traffic Information” service.
The Mercedes connect me Standard Services comprise:
•Accident Recovery: after using the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system, this service connects the driver with the Customer Assistance Center, so that further assistance can be given if required to deal with an accident, e.g. a breakdown vehicle.
•Breakdown Management: provides technical assistance in the event of a breakdown. To this end, the GPS position and the condition of the vehicle are transmitted to the Customer Assistance Centre, which informs Mercedes-Benz Service 24h. This enables Mercedes-Benz Service 24h to provide help with maximum efficiency.
•Maintenance Management: the vehicle detects and reports pending maintenance needs and sends the necessary data to the service outlet as the basis for preparing a service quote.
•Telediagnostics: the vehicle detects when diagnostics-capable wear parts need replacing and relays this information to the Mercedes-Benz service partner which has been assigned by the customer. The dealer contacts the customer to schedule a workshop appointment. The previously transmitted data enable the workshop to provide optimal assistance.
•Live Traffic Information: precise information on the current traffic situation in real time (in conjunction with COMAND Online and the Audio 20 Garmin Map Pilot).
Always on and intelligently connected – that’s the Mercedes connect me motto.Customers have access to their vehicle at all times and from anywhere. Apart from calling up a wealth of information on the current status of their vehicle, they can also remotely control their auxiliary heating or open and lock doors, for example. This requires Remote Online, which is optionally available for new cars in conjunction with the Audio 20 CD and Audio 20 USB multimedia systems and features as standard in combination with COMAND Online. Remote Online is part of the standard specification on Mercedes-Benz vehicles with electric drive. Use is initially limited to a period of three years after initial registration, following which it can be extended subject to a charge.
The Remote Online Services comprise:
•Parked Vehicle Locator: allows the user to ascertain the vehicle’s position if it has been parked in an unfamiliar city, for example.This makes it possible to conveniently find the vehicle within a range of 1.5 kilometres, using a smartphone.
•Vehicle Tracker: enables the customer/user to pinpoint the current position of a moving vehicle via GPS. A special symbol in the vehicle indicates when tracking services are active. The service can be deactivated at any time by making a free call to the Customer Assistance Center.
•Geofencing: shows the customer/user where the vehicle is in an area previously defined on the map and informs the customer if the car leaves or enters this area. Like the Vehicle Tracker, this service can also be deactivated by the driver at any time.
•Remote Door Locking and Unlocking: allows the customer/user to lock or unlock the vehicle’s doors remotely – if the driver has forgotten to lock the vehicle, for example.
•Remote Retrieval of Vehicle Status: vehicle data such as fuel level, range, etc., can be accessed from home or while on the road.
•Programming of Auxiliary Heating: when auxiliary heating is installed in the vehicle, functions such as “start”, “switch off” or “timing” can be controlled remotely.
•Any destinations or points of interest can be sent directly from the Mercedes me portal (https://mercedes.me) or the Mercedes me app to the user’s own vehicle, for convenient loading in the navigation system.
•The Remote Online Services include additional functions as standard for vehicles with electric drive or plug-in hybrids. Charging settings can be programmed, for example, or the Pre-Entry Climate Control function can be remote-controlled. A Range on Map function which includes due consideration of the given topography is also available.
In order to protect data and vehicle systems from unauthorised access, neither the Standard Services from Mercedes connect me nor the Remote Online Services involve a direct connection between the vehicle and the internet. Rather, the vehicle is connected via a secure VPN link (Virtual Private Network) with the Daimler Vehicle backend. These specially protected servers provide for secure data transmission. The Daimler Vehicle backend also serves as a gateway to external service providers and anonymises inquiries from the vehicle in order to meet customers’ high data security expectations, as the car of the future will turn increasingly into a digital companion, which at the same time means it must keep data safe as well as be perfectly safe to operate out on the road.
Daimler AG does not create any movement profiles in connection with Mercedes connect me services. All applicable laws relating to data security are observed. Access by government bodies is only possible within the bounds of the law. Where personal data are collected or created in connection with the use of Mercedes connect me services, this takes place on the basis of contractual provisions agreed with Daimler AG or with the customer’s consent. Customers can deactivate their connect me services at any time, including during the term of the contract.
Infotainment: Current services and future outlook
Tailor-made multimedia solutions
From comprehensive smartphone integration through WLAN hotspot functionality to the use of Mercedes-Benz Apps or real-time traffic information – with their numerous functions, the state-of-the-art multimedia systems from Mercedes-Benz tick all the boxes when it comes to listening pleasure, navigation and internet use. In typical Mercedes-Benz style, the display and operating concepts also combine intuitive operation with the swift delivery of readily comprehensible information. The future E-Class, which will be launched next spring, offers further innovations, such as Car-to-X communication.
Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink will be available for numerous Mercedes-Benz models – including the entire range of compact models – from the beginning of 2016.In the case of Apple CarPlay, for example, the system supports telephone use, navigation and listening to music, receiving and sending text messages and emails as well as Siri voice control.
MirrorLink is a standard developed by the Car Connectivity Consortium which defines a standardised interface for the transmission of display content and control commands between smartphone and vehicle. Devices and apps are duly certified. Apps supported by MirrorLink include miRoamer (internet radio and music entertainment), iCoyote (community-based real-time traffic information) and Glympse (sharing one’s own position in real time). Further apps are to follow – a current overview is available at https://www.mirrorlink.com/apps.
COMAND Online: with WLAN hotspot and Live Traffic Information
There is a choice of various multimedia systems to suit different requirements in all Mercedes-Benz model series. In their latest stages of development, the devices are already internet-capable in their basic versions in conjunction with data option.
Audio and video playback are possible from various sources, depending on the device concerned, for example via Bluetooth from smartphones or the Apple iPod, from SD card, USB stick or CD/DVD. Digital radio for the DAB, DMB and DAB+ standards is optionally available.
The most comprehensive range of functions is always provided by the fully integrated high-end device multimedia system COMAND Online. Some of the strengths of the latest generation:
•Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, News incl. read-aloud function or national traffic information can be used safely while on the move (in conjunction with a Bluetooth-capable mobile phone with data option).
•With the integrated hotspot functionality in the Mercedes-Benz C and S-Class, the passengers in all seats can connect various WLAN-capable devices such as laptops or tablets with the internet and use them en route.
•Fast, dynamic hard-disc navigation with realistic topographic map display including 3D POIs and 3D city models, fast navigation performance and short loading times thanks to the integral 200 GB hard disc and three years of free navigation updates all help to ensure drivers enjoy a relaxed motoring experience, whatever the destination. Storage/import/display of personal POIs on the map are also possible.
•The Live Traffic Information service is included free of charge for three years from the date of initial registration. It helps to ensure optimum dynamic route guidance with precisely calculated arrival times while delivering highly accurate traffic information in real time. To achieve this, Live Traffic Information gathers and transfers high quantities of traffic data from various sources, including “floating car data” technology for example. The data are transmitted via the internet with the aid of a communication module incorporating a SIM card and relayed in anonymised form to a service provider in order to generate the traffic information.
•Reception of internet radio stations (in conjunction with a Bluetooth-capable mobile phone with data option).
Control and display concept 2.0: User Experience design
The state-of-the-art multimedia systems from Mercedes-Benz offer numerous functions – from listening to music through telephone use and navigation to apps. The more extensive and complex the systems on board become, the more important intuitive and user-friendly operation becomes. Safety and comfort must set the standards when it comes to the control and display concept, too.
Head-up display, touchpad and voice control are all elements of this concept, combining intuitive operation with the fast supply of readily comprehensive information. The available functions vary according to model series. Below is an overview of the functions and their modes of functioning:
•Head-up display: like in a jet fighter, this presents important information directly in the driver’s field of vision on the front windscreen. The head-up display indicates the vehicle’s speed and – depending on the vehicle’s scope of equipment – also presents speed limits, navigation instructions and information relating to assistance systems.
•Touchpad: as with a smartphone, the touchpad can be used by the driver and front passenger to operate all head unit functions very easily and intuitively using single or multi-finger gestures (Multitouch). The 65 x 45-millimetre touchpad is installed in the handrest over the Controller on the centre tunnel. Slow and fast gestures are possible. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting – in any language supported by the audio equipment.
•Voice control system: LINGUATRONIC is another highlight of COMAND Online, which assists the driver in controlling audio equipment, telephone functions and the navigation system, in finding music and in using Mercedes-Benz Apps. Features in the latest release of LINGUATRONIC include the so-called one-shot entry of city, street and house number in a single command, including stops en route, and a text-to-speech function. The latter enables traffic messages along the route and personal text messages to be read aloud while on the move. Voice control is also possible via Apple CarPlay – here the voice assistant goes by the name of Siri.
Designers and developers will be working even more closely together at Mercedes-Benz in future in order to jointly evolve emotional, intuitive and highly aesthetic User Experience designs and to apply these designs across all model series. This will take customers to a new dimension of driving experience. This approach integrating design and technology opens up additional opportunities in the market, as these aspects are becoming increasingly important considerations influencing purchasing decisions in the automotive industry in particular, and they offer a means of differentiating products from the competition.
Car-to-X communication and remote parking for the E-Class
The future E-Class, which will have its world premiere at the beginning of 2016, will be the most intelligent saloon of its class in many respects, courtesy of a host of innovations in the field of connectivity. These include:
•Car-to-X communication: in 2013, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer to introduce car-to-car networking in the form of a retrofit solution. This is now to be followed by the logical next step as the world’s first fully integral Car-to-X solution goes into series production. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road, for example, can effectively allow the driver to see around corners or through obstacles. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as a broken down vehicle at the edge of the road.
•Digital Vehicle Key: this system uses near field communication technology and allows the driver’s smartphone to be used as a vehicle key. Simply holding the smartphone at the door handle is all it takes to unlock the vehicle. It is also possible to start the vehicle after placing the smartphone in the centre console.
•Remote Parking Pilot: this system allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of parking spaces remotely using a smartphone app for the first time, enabling the occupants to get into and out of the car easily, even if space is very tight. The parking scenario is enacted automatically – including steering, braking and direction changes – as long as the driver continues to provide a confirmation gesture on the smartphone.