The one thing that was not expected at CES this year was the emergence of the smart car.
Mercedes-Benz USA is introducing and launching mbrace2 today. The service provides drivers top-of-the-line features related to safety, infotainment, personal assistance and vehicle care.
The service was developed by Hughes Telematics and was made to work seamlessly inside and outside the vehicle. It features a new control module with two all-new categories of services: Internet and remote access capabilities. It also updates all software via a cloud network so users will always be on top of new technologies being developed for the service. It also includes a remote app for iPhone and Android smartphones. It’s first appearing in the MY13 SL-Class in the spring and will be standard in most MY13 passenger vehicles.
"The connected services included in mbrace2 will enhance both the driving experience and the ownership experience for Mercedes-Benz customers," Steve Cannon, president and CEO, MBUSA, said. "Traditionally, in-vehicle technology is finalized more than a year before a vehicle comes to market and is difficult to upgrade. The mbrace2 system solves the vehicle electronics lifecycle conundrum in a unique way, creating a truly networked vehicle that is always online, always upgradeable."
To that tune, mbrace2 features 3G network connectivity. The new Internet-based service is called “Mercedes-Benz Apps,” and includes the usual apps like Facebook and Google. It also includes open browsing, stocks, Yelp! and news headlines.
Facebook in a car sounds dangerous and rightly so. People get into accidents over updating their Facebook while driving. Thankfully, the Facebook app is disabled when the car is in motion preventing text entry according to a Mercedes’ product manager speaking to Reuters.
The remote access apps allow drivers to check on their vehicle with their phones. The apps include geo-fences, vehicle health diagnostics, curfew minder, driving journal, speed alerts, valet protect and remote horns and lights. This is good news for people who want to know where their car is and what it is doing at the moment. I can see this appealing to those who want to feel like Batman, controlling their car from a distance with a remote device.
For those worried about the car not being safe with all these apps possibly distracting drivers, the company rests those fears by offering over 60 apps dedicated to safety and security. Now if only there can be an app that cures reckless driving.