Tools connecting the vehicle to the OEM, as well as to the driver and eventually to infrastructure will enable accident prevention, thereby assisting in moving towards autonomy
Mercedes-Benz India Ltd (MBIL) recently launched its vehicle connectivity solution ‘Mercedes Me’ that it plans to launch in a three-phase manner, in order to increase the digitisation of vehicle ownership. MBIL has also launched the industry-first dedicated e-call service, making it the first luxury automotive brand to have a dedicated call centre for emergency services. Both these mobile app-based services are focussed on getting the vehicle to be connected at all times to the owner, as well as with the OEM.
MERCEDES ME CONNECTED VEHICLE SOLUTION
Martin Schwenk, Managing Director, MBIL, said that the car is becoming an integral part of customers’ life connecting them with their family and society. He added that in phase 1 of the rollout of the Mercedes Me solution, the company is connecting all Mercedes-Benz cars in India from 2007 onwards with the help of an adapter that needs to be fitted onto the vehicle. This, he noted brings older vehicles also to the platform, enabling them to be connected within this digitised ecosystem. Following this, phase 2 will see the roll-out of ‘Mercedes me connect’ available ex-factory across select cars, and phase 3 will witness the launch of smart virtual assistant ‘Mercedes-Benz User Experience - Hey Mercedes, he added.
The second phase of Mercedes Me Connect, which will be available for select models is an ex-factory, e-sim based cloud connectivity solution. It will offer over 25 unique features including remote lock-unlock, Parked Vehicle Locator, Send Destination 2 Car, remote retrieval of vehicle status, Valet Protect, Speed Alert and Tele-diagnostics. The third phase will see the introduction of Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX), which is called ‘Hey Mercedes’ – a smart virtual assistant. This feature will be available with over 30 features.
AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE STRATEGY
These three phases of the Mercedes Me solutions connect the vehicle to the customer and OEM, while V2V and V2X functions require vehicle to be connected with one another, as well as to the infrastructure. Commenting on this, Schwenk noted that the company has to prioritise the activities and solutions it offers in any market, in line with its CASE (Connected Autonomous Shared Electric) strategy. In the case of the Indian market, he said that connected is the most important part of this strategy, as a result of which it has introduced these solutions. He further added that shared and electric mobility will be coming; however, autonomous does not have a priority for India, since the technology is in infancy locally, as well as globally.
Schwenk also said that while rolling-out different customer experience initiatives in India, the company has taken utmost care of protecting and storing confidential customer data and privacy requirements. It is doing so by attaching importance to transparency and the responsible handling of data, with customers themselves having the ability to decide on the services they want to use and the data they want to share. MBIL added that the company is on the way to be European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant ahead of the Indian data protection legislation.
Connectivity is the stepping stone to vehicle autonomy, and MBIL strongly believes in developing connected solutions that would lead to the eventual self-driving vehicles. Building a strong digitised platform for its customers is the method that the company is employing to bring about a strong connected technology base.