Mercedes-Benz R&D India (MBRDI), headquartered in Bengaluru is the largest R&D facility of Daimler AG outside Germany. The vehicle engineering and IT technologies that spins out of the R&D facility provide cutting edge technologies to all other business units and brands of Daimler worldwide. New methods in Design and CAE, software content for control units, head units and various critical engineering tools are its latest forte as it moves on to generate competitive advantage through these advancements.
All that is digital at Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz believes that Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric (CASE) are the four concepts that will shape the future of driving.
While design has been a priority for Mercedes-Benz, tech and IT is as significant. And if touch controls seem too tedious to operate then the company has now also developed gesture control.
“A lot of innovation is happening in the software area, at the same time the hardware is also picking up well. We are focused on making the automobile smarter and increasing the comfort of users. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, edge-computing, cyber-security, IoT, and cloud solutions along with the underlying network connectivity provided by telcos paves the path for connected infrastructure in the cars,” says Raghavendra Vaidya, Senior Vice President – IT at Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India.
Mercedes-Benz pivots its success on fulfilling and surpassing needs of various stakeholders across its value chain.
User experience in particular is a targeted focus at various touch points in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. The infotainment system has been designed to be intuitive and intelligent. Driven by AI, it has the ability to learn user preferences, and adapt and individualise the user experience. This enables the establishment of an emotional connect between vehicle, driver and passenger. Furthermore, with the availability of “over the air”, real-time updates, users can be sure of receiving the latest software updates automatically.
The hardware experience is enhanced with high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit and touchscreen operation, supported by a navigation display with augmented reality technology. Mercedes-Benz has also embedded intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated with a keyword to provide superior control to users.
In December, the new GLE launched in India featured the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, making it the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to do so in India. There was significant contribution to the software chain for the MBUX from MBRDI and it includes a natural voice control system and a touchscreen. With every trip, the MBUX learns more about the driver’s habits and preferences, which helps create a seamless user experience.
Another rich feature is the MBUX Augmented Reality Navigation. This enables users to navigate in complex traffic situations. MBUX connects augmented reality for navigation with the real world. The technology incorporates graphical navigation instructions and traffic information into live images, thus enabling a stress-free driving experience.
The natural, intuitive Linguatronic voice control system is capable of processing indirect speech as well. The voice control has also been enhanced with learning capability. It accustoms itself to the user’s voice continuously, delivering more accurate results each time till the point it feels like one is speaking with another human.
With Mercedes me connect, users can stay connected to their cars at any time and from any place. This enables users to control and monitor many features of the vehicle from fuel level to locking the car with one’s smartphone. It has been designed keeping in mind the end users by providing them with a range of comprehensive services to support them while on the move.
With the help of the data generated from the car, any technical fault can be diagnosed in real time and its fix can delivered instantaneously.
“The whole idea is connecting your car. Collecting data from cars is now easier. This data can be used to identify problems in the car and has several applications, which lie in how it is analysed,” informs Vaidya.
With consumers’ interest tilting more towards Electric Vehicles (EV), automakers are making inroads in this domain. Although the breadth of adopting EVs in India is not as inflated as in China or other European countries, the Indian government’s move towards switching over to EVs in a phased manner by 2030 is picking up steam.
Mercedes-Benz’ EV EQC is coming to India at the right time. The EQ brand was introduced in India in January 2020 and the car is expected to be made commercially available in April 2020. When asked how Mercedes-Benz sees the readiness of EV infrastructure in India, Vaidya says, “This is a very complex environment with strict regulations. It involves aligning ourselves with existing infrastructure and making moves accordingly.”