Mercedes-Benz has started trials to bring social networking to cars

Meet your newest cloud provider: Mercedes-Benz

The day has come when you could be reading this article inside a Mercedes-Benz automobile.

Furthering the in-car computing channel opportunity, Mercedes-Benz has developed an App Store that will supply apps via the cloud to your vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz is past July unveiled its COMAND Online system that is housed in the car’s dashboard. For the North American market COMAND has been branded the Mbrace 2 cloud-based telematic system. COMAND or Mbrace 2 comes with apps that provide news, but only headlines and summaries while driving. Full length articles can be accessed with the car is not operational on the road. Besides the top stories of the day, the Mercedes-Benz news app has tidbits from international news, specific content-based news such as sports, weather, entertainment news or economy, politics, and technology news.

Using the COMAND/Mbrace 2 controller a drive can scroll through the list and text and image views. The information can then be transferred via email.

Another app supplies photos for the surrounding area via Google Street View and can identify parking spots. These apps come with a one-year license. Mercedes-Benz has more apps and they can be downloaded through a Bluetooth DUN capable mobile system.Another interesting part of the apps is that they can be language specific and displayed in English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Czech, and Russian. One thing these apps cannot do is transfer to another automobile.

Mercedes-Benz is also supplying a fee app called Mooval on the Apple Store. Mooval is a mobility platform that shows the users the best possible way to get from A to B.

And, Mercedes-Benz has not stopped there. The German company has begun a field trial to bring social networking to cars. The company is calling the trial, named car-to-X communication or C2X, one of the largest it has ever undertaken. The goal of C2X is to improve road safety and efficiency. The trial consists of 120 vehicles that will take to the roads of the Rhine-Main region of Germany until the end of the year. Each car has a network link to the others, as well as to the traffic infrastructure, and they will keep each other updated about the current traffic situation.

For example, if the tail-end of a traffic jam on the A5 autobahn is hidden behind the crest of a hill, vehicles approaching the problem area can be alerted in good time, allowing the driver to take appropriate action. In situations where drivers have difficulty seeing what’s happening on the road ahead of them, for example on the federal highway B3, C2X technology can help to prevent pileups, e.g. by providing information about an emergency stop to traffic further back, even if the actual brake lights may be hidden by a lorry. C2X systems can also do their bit to make traffic more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly, e.g. by helping to control traffic light systems according to demand, thereby optimizing traffic flow. In addition, it can offer a range of convenient functions such as suggested routes to the nearest available car park. That makes C2X communication a key element in the technology of the driver assistance and safety systems of the future.

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