The presence of Mercedes-Benz and smart at the CES show in Las Vegas is dominated by a new corporate strategy, known as CASE. The world’s largest consumer electronics show, from 5 to 8 January 2017, sees the display of products and concepts relating to the four strategic pillars “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Service” and “Electric Drive”.
The Concept EQ, the Mercedes-Benz Vision Van and the smart electric drive will all be on display at CES. The company is also showing innovative solutions for linking up vehicles with intelligent home management systems, new features in the field of artificial intelligence, services to enhance well-being and much more besides.
At its “Inspiration Talks” Mercedes-Benz will offer visitors to the show an opportunity to engage in dialogue with internal and external experts on all aspects of the CASE strategy. Guy Kawasaki, a leading technology evangelist and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, will be chairing these talks at the show stand. The talks will also be broadcast live on the Mercedes-Benz Facebook channel.
Mercedes-Benz continues to shape the future of mobility, as the brand with the star is demonstrating at CES 2017 in Las Vegas with the help of just four letters: CASE. This stands for “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Service” and “Electric Drive”, encapsulating Mercedes-Benz’s new corporate strategy.
At the same time, CASE also describes the four trends which are set to fundamentally alter the concept of mobility in the coming years. Mercedes-Benz and smart are already playing a leading role in these areas today.
“Individual mobility is virtually unparalleled in its crucial importance for economic and social development. In this area we are on the cusp of great changes which are comparable to the invention of the automobile,” explains Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler Board of Management and, since the beginning of the year, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“CASE sees us pooling our innovative prowess so as to ensure that we will play a crucial role in shaping the process of change. Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will continue to set the standards for modern mobility in the digital age.”
CASE – networking, autonomous driving, flexible use, electric mobility
In the field of networking (Connected) the focus is on personalised services that offer customers more comfort and safety by taking the strain out of irksome routine activities, for example by helping with the search for a parking space. In the area of autonomous driving (Autonomous) Mercedes-Benz already offers a comprehensive spectrum of partially automated driving functions and has been at the vanguard of developments in this field for many years now.
The company is also among the pioneers when it comes to flexible models for vehicle use (Shared & Service), having launched the car2go car sharing service with smart back in 2008. Mercedes-Benz pursues a holistic approach to the electrification of the drivetrain (Electric Drive). As part of the new corporate strategy, CASE, the new EQ brand will be augmented by a whole series of functions and features relating to electric mobility, from charging technology and services through to sustainable recycling.
Concept EQ – a new user experience
The Concept EQ provides a foretaste of a new generation of vehicles with electric battery-powered drive systems. The vehicle with the profile of a sporty SUV crossover is the initial exemplar of the new Mercedes-Benz product brand for electric mobility, EQ, under which the first EQ series production model will be launched in the SUV segment before the end of the decade.
The Concept EQ offers an impression of the future user experience in an automobile. The exterior design presents a totally new electric aesthetic which also finds its way into the interior: the new user interface combines emotionality with user-friendliness, with a focus on straightforward operation by means of touch-sensitive surfaces. The asymmetrical design of the instrument panel with its large, widescreen display is tailored to the driver’s needs and places all relevant information such as speed, range, trip data or navigation and map details into the driver’s field of view.
The navigation system on board the Concept EQ is based on the HERE map platform and offers a unique 3D view. For this, the system uses GPU technology from NVIDIA. The driver can search for points of interest, such as restaurants, shopping amenities or local sights.
These are highlighted in the three-dimensional presentation, while other buildings remain in the background. The design of the HERE maps reduces the level of visual complexity, allowing the driver to recognise more quickly the information that is of immediate relevance and to process this information more effectively.
Locally emission-free and efficient over the last mile: the Vision Van
The Mercedes-Benz Vision Van is a revolutionary van study for last-mile delivery operations. It has been evolved as part of the adVANce strategic initiative for the future at Mercedes-Benz Vans. The Vision Van networks information and technology in unprecedented fashion.
With a fully automated load compartment, integrated delivery drones and unique communication between the vehicle and its surroundings, it embodies a holistic concept for a fully digitally networked process chain from the goods distribution depot to the consignee. An electric drive ensures that deliveries with the Vision Van are locally emission-free and virtually silent.
Machine learning on the road to the cognitive car
In evolving the future shape of mobility, Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a visionary goal: the development of cognitive vehicles. These possess sufficient knowledge about their surroundings to enable them not only to react to certain situations, but also to act autonomously. Coupled with corresponding services, they could become the basis for a sustainable and intelligent mobility system of the future.
They autonomously analyse the current traffic situation for all modes of transport and draw up an individual mobility plan that suits the customer’s personal daily routine and their mood. They serve as the control centre for mobile people’s lives and take on the form of a digital living environment.
Cognitive vehicles are able to recognise, and as far as possible fulfil, their occupants’ wishes. They provide access to an individualised artificial intelligence which takes the strain off people, entertains them and offers them intellectual support.
Mercedes-Benz is already working on the development of various products and concepts which point in this direction. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, for example, are being applied to make future infotainment systems in these vehicles even more intelligent. The system, for instance, collects and analyses information about the driver’s behaviour and habits.
On the basis of this information it recognises the driver as soon as they board the vehicle and provides them with personalised suggestions aimed at making their everyday routine more pleasant and offering an improved driving experience. It may suggest the next destination, suitable music or the most appropriate contact for a telephone call, for example.
Mercedes-Benz links the vehicle with home
Mercedes-Benz also offers innovative solutions in the area of seamless networking between the vehicle and home. Apart from enabling a link-up between the vehicle and a customer’s wearables, the Mercedes-Benz Companion app (available in the USA only) also provides the platform for functions of fully connected home living.
It integrates eco-systems for intelligent home management, such as Nest thermostats and Samsung SmartThings, into Mercedes-Benz vehicles. This means, for example, that drivers can control the temperature within their own four walls from wherever they happen to be, thereby saving energy and costs as well as reducing environmental impact.
As soon as early 2017, Mercedes-Benz customers in certain markets will be able to communicate with their vehicles via Google Home and Amazon Alexa: this will enable them to check a vehicle’s fuel level or the charge status of an electric vehicle, to check whether their car is locked, or even to send navigation destinations directly to the vehicle from the comfort of their own home.
Mercedes-Benz “Fit & Healthy”: a vehicle that promotes well-being
As far as intelligent additional services are concerned, the company is also presenting its vision of how society’s increasing health awareness can be intelligently integrated into ideas for the mobility of the future. The concept vehicle “Fit & Healthy” provides an outlook on how a vehicle can actively promote the well-being of its occupants.
“Regeneration” and “Activation” are two of the worlds of experience that can be enjoyed by the user of this concept vehicle, based on a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. These provide physical and mental relaxation or stimulation with the help of numerous comfort systems such as fragrancing, massage, ambient light, ionisation or climate control. The worlds of experience are both cognitive and sensory in many dimensions of perception. With 4D Sound for example, as it is called, sound is converted by acoustic transducers, known as exciters, into mechanical motion, and so transformed into a physical sound experience.
“Motion”, the third “Fit & Healthy” function in the vehicle, focuses on movement. In a video, renowned US medical expert David Agus explains seat functions which can be experienced in the concept vehicle, such as Active Seat and deep massage, and encourages drivers to do practical fitness exercises during breaks in driving.
The technology behind “Predictive Emergency Defence” (PED) from Mercedes-Benz demonstrates that Fit & Healthy features might also help prevent accidents in future. The aim is to be able to detect imminent loss of consciousness by professional drivers in good time, in order to prevent resultant accidents. In an emergency, the predictive emergency assistance system is designed to automatically activate the hazard warning system and, as a last step, to bring the bus or truck to a controlled stop as well as to call for medical assistance. For this project, the researchers at Mercedes-Benz developed a so-called “sensor vest” with ECG sensors (electrocardiography).
Search for – and find – a parking space via the cloud
Mercedes-Benz also aims to make finding a parking space simpler in future with the aid of intelligent technology. With “community-based parking”, the company is trialling a corresponding service together with Bosch. This involves Mercedes-Benz vehicles generating data about available roadside parking spaces with the aid of their on-board sensors and transmitting this information via a communication interface to the cloud. Other drivers who are looking for a parking space in the local area then receive this information and can head directly for the nearest parking space. The service is currently still in the test phase, with the aim being to introduce it in due course via Mercedes me connect.
More service to improve everyday life: the “ready to” services from smart
Customers already benefit from innovative services to make everyday life more simple in the Mercedes-Benz Cars smart fleet as well. Last year, smart launched a service to simplify online shopping, under the name “smart ready to drop”. This service from smart, in partnership with the DHL parcel delivery service, makes parcel deliveries to the boot of the customer’s car possible. The range of services is now being extended to include “smart ready to share”.
This service allows smart customers to share their vehicles with friends, colleagues or relations when they are not using them themselves. The technical basis is provided by the smart “ready to” app in conjunction with a Connectivity Box behind the windscreen, which work together to allow keyless access to the vehicle. “smart ready to share” is being presented at CES and will be launched, initially as an enhancement to “smart ready to drop”, in selected German cities in the spring of 2017.
small will also be providing further evidence of its pioneering role in the field of electro-mobility at CES: smart is the only automobile manufacturer to offer its entire model range in both combustion-engine and battery-powered electric drive variants. Following their world premiere at the Paris Motor Show in 2016, the smart electric drive models will be on show once again at CES ahead of their market launch in the spring.
With 160 Newton metres of torque, the 60 kW electric cars are extremely agile. One complete battery charge suffices for a range of around 160 kilometres according to NEDC, which is generally ample for urban driving needs. Depending on the national version concerned and the available mains supply, with the powerful on-board charger the smart electric drive can be charged up to twice as quickly as has been the case up to now. With the optional new rapid charger, charging from 0 to 80 percent is possible in under 45 minutes (again depending on the national version and the available mains supply).