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Innovation made in Silicon Valley: Mercedes-Benz presents new features of its Digital DriveStyle App at Google I/O
- Product of ongoing partnership between Google and Mercedes-Benz
- New version of Digital DriveStyle App to feature additional Google services in the first half of 2013
San Francisco. Google I/O is an annual developer conference featuring highly technical, in-depth sessions, and showcasing the latest from Google’s product teams and partners. This year's conference, which has taken place annually since 2008, will showcase Mercedes-Benz and its latest integration of Google services in the car.
In one of its SL models, Mercedes-Benz will be demonstrating the Drive Kit Plus, a system which in combination with a smartphone and a special app enables the seamless integration of the smartphone into the vehicle's infotainment architecture. And with the Digital DriveStyle App developed by Mercedes-Benz, the main functions of the smartphone can be organised under the headings Social, Media and Places and called up on the vehicle display – and also accessed safely and conveniently while driving via the COMAND controller or by using the voice based intelligent personal assistant. The Drive Kit Plus is available as an accessory for virtually all current Mercedes-Benz model series.
Digital DriveStyle App makes use of Google's Places API
In the concept version of Digital DriveStyle on display at Google I/O, Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating the capabilities of Google's Places API with four new features.
"Faster search, everywhere you go": Whether it’s a street address or nearby restaurant, find your destination faster with the Google Places Autocomplete API, which predicts the most likely destinations as you type.
"Preview destinations on-the-go": Explore landmarks, parks, and storefronts from around the world with 360-degree Street View imagery and Google+ Local photos.
"Know the hottest spots in town": Radar View uses the Google Places API Radar Search and Heatmaps to guide you to the center of the action by visualizing areas with high concentrations of night clubs, restaurants and shopping centers.
"Get live traffic conditions": integration of Google’s traffic service, providing a color-coded overlay of real-time traffic conditions on a Google Map.
Digital DriveStyle App due to be updated in the first half of 2013
These features are still expected to be integrated into the Digital DriveStyle App in the first half of 2013. Customers who already own a Drive Kit Plus and are using the app can obtain an updated version via the App Store. This avoids customers having to visit their Mercedes-Benz dealer or workshop to be able to use the new services.
While the majority of the product as demonstrated at Google I/O will be released to the public, Mercedes-Benz is additionally previewing a proof-of-concept feature whose market introduction plans have yet to be determined: a City Guide using Places API Radar Search to visualize the concentration of various features (nightlife, shopping, etc) as a graphical overlay on a Google Map.
Mercedes-Benz at the centre of innovation
Back as early as the beginning of the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz recognised the importance of having a presence in the innovation centre of Silicon Valley – and as a result in 1995 became the world's first automotive manufacturer to open a research site in Palo Alto. Today, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA) has around 140 employees, the largest workforce of all of the automotive manufacturers located in Silicon Valley.
The Digital DriveStyle App has been fully developed in-house by Mercedes-Benz, with all of the functionality and design having been worked on by MBRDNA. The integration of Google content is a result of the close cooperation between the developers from Mountain View. This has been made possible thanks to a partnership between Google and Mercedes-Benz, announced at CES 2012.
The Drive Kit Plus, which enables the smartphone to be connected to the vehicle, was developed by Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH. Additional information on the Digital DriveStyle App and the Drive Kit Plus is available online at:
- Smartphone integration: the Drive Kit Plus currently enables Apple's iPhone 4/4S to be integrated into a vehicle. Integration of the iPhone 5 is being worked on and should follow later this year.
- Digital DriveStyle App: an application programmed by Mercedes-Benz which outputs the smartphone's main content (currently the iPhone 4/4S) on the vehicle display so that it can be accessed safely and conveniently while on the road – via the COMAND controller and/or by using the voice based intelligent personal assistant (currently Apple's Siri). The app is available free of charge through iTunes via the following link:
- Drive Kit Plus: the Drive Kit Plus is a hardware cradle which enables the smartphone to be connected to the vehicle. The Drive Kit Plus can be ordered ex factory for Mercedes-Benz A-Class models. A retrofit solution is also available from Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH for virtually all current Mercedes-Benz model series.
- Places API: A Google product providing accurate local search for points of interest, including business and address data, around the world. API stands for "Application Programming Interface"