- Premiere: Apple “CarPlay” in the new C-Class – Mercedes-Benz remains trendsetter in smartphone integration
Mercedes-Benz will be the first German premium automotive manufacturer to bring Apple’s “CarPlay” infotainment system based on the iPhone into cars. How the system operates in vehicles is being demonstrated by Mercedes-Benz in a new C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show. As soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market, Mercedes-Benz customers will also be able to enjoy the world of Android in their cars. As a result, and as already demonstrated two years ago when it presented the combination of the Drive Kit Plus and Digital DriveStyle App, Mercedes-Benz continues to be the leader when it comes to smartphone integration in vehicles. Mercedes-Benz also offers its high-end infotainment system COMAND Online, compatible with most of the current smartphones. This enables customers to use Mercedes-Benz Apps while driving in a safe and comfortable way.
What belongs together is growing together: smartphones have become an indispensable part of everyday life, and embedded in-vehicle infotainment systems currently communicate intensively with the outside world. The seamless integration of these two systems is able to provide customers with maximum comfort.
Last June, as part of its 24th WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), Apple announced a so-called in-car infotainment system based on its “iOS in the Car”. Now the company has announced the official completion and release of the iPhone-based solution under the name “CarPlay” which gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Mercedes-Benz is the only German premium automotive manufacturer which is planning to support the system from the outset, and is demonstrating how it works in Geneva in a new C-Class.
As soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market, Mercedes-Benz customers will also be able to enjoy the world of Android in their cars. Mercedes-Benz has already shown to impressive effect how an Android-based in-car infotainment system could look like in the SLS AMG in 2011: with “AMG Performance Media” it is possible to display lateral and longitudinal acceleration, along with engine output, torque and accelerator pedal position. Laps completed on a race track can be recorded and called up later for the purposes of personal driving analysis. Additional functions such as internet access and WiFi hotspot functionality are options that customers can add to the system.
“Two years ago we set a new trend with the integration of the smartphone into our vehicles, and Apple and Google have picked it up,” according to Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “We offer our customers an ideal in-car infotainment system. We are constantly developing the connected car with the latest technologies available, so that every Mercedes-Benz driver can use their smartphone in the car in full comfort and safety.”
Car Connectivity Consortium develops MirrorLink
Mercedes-Benz has therefore been committed to the development of such solutions for a number of years. It is therefore no surprise that the company was a founding member of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) in 2011: manufacturers of mobile phones, technology companies and vehicle manufacturers are working together on “MirrorLink”, a uniform standard for the integration of smartphones into the vehicle architecture. The goal of Mercedes-Benz, alongside the integration of iOS and Android-based devices, is to offer maximum compatibility for smartphones with other operating systems.
Drive Kit Plus and Digital DriveStyle App
It was also at the Geneva Motor Show two years ago that Mercedes-Benz presented a trendsetting innovation: for the first time in the history of the motor car, the combination of the Drive Kit Plus and the Digital DriveStyle App enabled comprehensive smartphone integration into the vehicle architecture, and therefore safe and convenient operation while driving. As part of this system the smartphone is connected to the vehicle via a cable (using the Drive Kit Plus) and at the same time charged. An application developed by Mercedes-Benz, the Digital DriveStyle App, runs on the smartphone and combines all essential functions under Social (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+), Media (e.g. Aupeo Personal Radio) and Places (e.g. Navigation, Google Places). Thanks to the high graphics and processing capabilities of the smartphone, these functions are shown in brilliant clarity on the vehicle display. The Digital DriveStyle App is operated via the vehicle controller. In addition, communication can also be carried out using Siri, the iPhone’s digital voice assistant, without the driver having to take their hands off the steering wheel.
The Drive Kit Plus and Digital DriveStyle App are currently compatible with iPhone generations 4 and 5. Support for Android-based smartphones will be available from the middle of the year. Additional information is available at drive-kit-plus.com.
COMAND Online & Mercedes-Benz Apps
In addition to smartphone-based solutions, Mercedes-Benz also offers its customers COMAND Online which is a high-end infotainment system that caters to virtually all customers needs. Navigation with real-time traffic service, digital radio and TV receiver, online access including Mercedes-Benz Apps specially optimised for use while driving or a WiFi hotspot in the vehicle are just a few of the features of COMAND Online. It is also possible to send routes from Google Maps and here.com (formerly Navteq) directly to the vehicle. Destinations from the iPhone app “Where To?” by FutureTap, for example restaurants or event locations, can also be sent to the vehicle and fed into the navigation system.