- Mercedes-Benz announced a series of new partnerships on Wednesday that will see its cars have some form of autonomous driving and Google services integration.
- Google Maps, Cloud and YouTube will be heading to the automaker’s next-generation on-board operating system – MB.OS.
- The automaker says that its cars will have autonomous driving and navigation by the middle of the decade thanks to a deal struck with sensor maker Luminar Technologies.
Luxury cars have long made attempts to push the envelope of smart integration. While it usually resembles some form of navigation system and music player, some manufacturers have gone further beyond.
Tesla vehicles feature dashboard systems that allow drivers to play PC games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and now thanks to a new partnership with Google, Mercedes-Benz cars are set to receive Google Maps and YouTube integration.
According to TechCrunch, the deal between the German automaker and the American tech giant was announced during a press briefing at the Mercedes-Benz research and development centre in California. Here, the company detailed its plans for the future of its driving software and operating system.
Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius described the new partnership with Google as a win-win.
According to the chief executive, the licensing agreement would give the automaker Google services like Maps, Cloud and YouTube without having to cede control over its vehicle-borne operating system.
“We’re the full architects of the stack,” added Källenius
Thanks to the partnership, MB.OS, the upcoming next-gen operating system of Mercedes-Benz, will give drivers access to Google’s geospatial services, including detailed information of locations, real-time and predictive traffic data and automatic rerouting via Maps.
Google Cloud will become available to owners of cars with the new OS, which are only expected to go into production in late 2024, early 2025. However, some Google services, like Place Details, will be heading to Mercedes drivers early via an over-the-air software update.
According to Reuters, drivers will also be able to watch YouTube videos in the cars’ entertainment systems, as long as the vehicle in question is parked or in Level 3 autonomous driving mode – a system in which drivers will be able to take their eyes off the wheel on certain roads.
Autonomous driving is coming to Mercedes vehicles thanks to a partnership with self-driving sensor maker Luminar Technologies, which is expected to see a broad range of its cars with the technology on roads by the middle of the decade.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai further detailed the extent of the automaker’s partnership with Google, explaining that “In addition to enabling Mercedes-Benz to design a customized navigation interface, we’ll provide our AI and data capabilities to accelerate their sustainability efforts, advance autonomous driving, and create an enhanced customer experience.”
Apparently, Mercedes-Benz wants its operating system to completely eliminate the need for drivers to install products like Apple Car Play and Android Auto, opting for the in-house system instead.
“I mean, that’s the ultimate goal of MB.OS ultimately, it will create a customer experience so there’s no need to plug in your phone,” CTO Markus Schäfer said at the event on Wednesday.