Mercedes-Benz taps Google to improve customer experience

Car maker Mercedes-Benz has joined hands with Google to offer automated driving sensors as part of its strategy to build its own branded navigation using new in-car geospatial data and navigation capabilities from Google Maps Platform.
Mercedes-Benz Navigation Experience
The German carmaker agreed to share revenue with semiconductor maker Nvidia, its tech partner on automated driving software since 2020, to bring down the upfront cost of buying expensive high-powered semiconductors, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kaellenius said in a news statement.

“You only pay for a heavily subsidized chip, and then figure out how to maximize joint revenue,” he said, reasoning that the sunk costs would be low even if drivers did not turn on every feature allowed by the chip.

But only customers paying for an extra option package would have cars equipped with Lidar sensor technology and other hardware for automated “Level 3” driving, which have a higher variable cost, Ola Kaellenius said at a software update day in Sunnyvale, California.

Self-driving sensor maker Luminar Technologies, in which Mercedes owns a small stake, said it struck a multi-billion dollar deal with the carmaker to integrate its sensors across a broad range of its vehicles by the middle of the decade.

Mercedes-Benz generated over one billion euros ($1.06 billion) from software-enabled revenues in 2022 and expects that figure to rise to a high single-digit billion euro figure by 2030 after it rolls out its new MB.OS operating system from mid-decade.

GOOGLE PARTNERSHIP

Mercedes said the collaboration with Google would allow it to offer traffic information and automatic rerouting in its cars.

As a first step, Mercedes-Benz will give customers access to Place Details provided by Google, helping them find detailed information about more than 200 million businesses and places around the world, including business hours, photos, ratings, and reviews. Place Details will be available starting today in all vehicles with the latest generation of MBUX in applicable markets.

Drivers will also be able to watch YouTube on the cars’ entertainment system when the car is parked or in Level 3 autonomous driving mode, which allows a driver to take their eyes off the wheel on certain roads as long as they can resume control if needed.

“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,” Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Google and Alphabet, said in a news statement.

Other carmakers like General Motors, Renault, Nissan and Ford have embedded an entire package of Google services into their vehicles, offering features like Google Maps, Google Assistant and other applications.

All vehicles on Mercedes’ upcoming modular architecture platform will also have hyperscreens extending across the cockpit of the car.

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