Mercedes-Benz AG is vigorously driving ahead with the cockpit digitalisation in the Mercedes-Benz vehicle fleet and is on its way to being the leader in car software. The In-Car Coding Community will be launched against this background. In a major international competition aimed at start-ups as well as established companies, the most innovative and creative software concepts are being sought in a selection procedure over several months. Mercedes-Benz AG is pursuing the goal of further augmenting the digital driving experience in tandem with the Community. The best concepts will be implemented as apps to enable their direct integration into the Mercedes-Benz vehicle fleet at a later stage. The In-Car Coding Community is an international platform announced by Mercedes-Benz, with the support of employees in Group Research. “With the In-Car Coding Community, we offer an entire ecosystem around the topic of software as well as continuous exchange and close cooperation during the development process – between external developers and our internal experts,” says Jasmin Eichler, Director of Future Technologies in Group Research. “The focus of the new community is entirely on the application. For us at Mercedes, this is a great opportunity to develop software together with external partners and to work jointly on new services.”
The In-Car Coding Community is business-oriented in character. “This is not a hackathon, nor a brainstorming session, rather the In-Car Community is business,” says Georges Massing, Vice President Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “We are offering direct access to one of the most valuable brands in the world as well as its million customers.” Participants with convincing concepts can look forward to long-term cooperation with Mercedes-Benz AG. “We are not just looking for exceptional new ideas,” Massing states. “We are looking for partners for the future.” The on-going digitalisation has a great influence on how we will live and work in future. With numerous apps, the smartphone is nowadays already our constant companion. There are no issues with calling up our favourite music at any time or effortlessly finding our way around an unfamiliar city via the vehicle navigation. The mobility of the future builds on networked services in this respect. Integrated into on-board systems, they provide ever more service, comfort, safety and entertainment in the vehicle. The intelligent infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) already offers its users a broad spectrum of services. These range from music streaming services, a digital logbook, Tailback Assist and In-Car Office, which for example can connect to telephone conferences via voice command or can read, write and send text messages. In electric vehicles, MBUX also helps to find charging stations, including the energy consumption required to get to the station, the current state of charge of the battery as well as payment of the charging. These functions are controlled via a high-resolution touch display or the integrated voice assistant Hey Mercedes.
An important component of MBUX is the new generation of the Mercedes me apps. These are on the Mercedes me platform – exclusive to Mercedes-Benz and their cooperation partners. The apps ensure the intelligent and emotional networking of driver and vehicle, and bundle products as well as services which can be called up via the MBUX or the smartphone. Access to this digital ecosystem is available following an on-off registration on the Mercedes-Benz website or directly in the Mercedes me app. The car journey becomes an individual driving experience with MBUX and Mercedes me.
The offers from Mercedes me are to be continuously expanded. This is exactly where the In-Car Coding Community comes into play. With its open innovation approach, it is aimed at a wide range of applicants. Developers, start-ups, companies, data scientists and software agencies are called upon to co-shape and drive ahead with the mobility of the future together with Mercedes-Benz. To ensure that this takes place as smoothly as possible and that the developers can fully concentrate on developing new codes, Group Research is making the Software Development Kit (SDK) available to applicants, which gives them access to the MBUX infotainment system. Initially introduced at the 2019 International Motor Show in Frankfurt, it makes a number of different APIs from Mercedes-Benz available to external developers around the world. These open access program interfaces are necessary for controlling controls in the areas of comfort, entertainment and safety via the vehicle electronics. There are no limits to the conception and development of ideas for the applicants. Completely new concepts related to the digital vehicle experience are being sought after.
The portal is the marketplace for apps related to trucks. This is where employers and managers from the logistics sector find apps that help them make their vehicle fleet perform even better. With this open platform, Daimler Truck AG offers its customers the chance to put together individual solutions for their business. The apps should simplify everyday work for the drivers and contribute to increased efficiency of the entire fleet thanks to intelligent networking. Developers of mobile application software for the first time have the opportunity to integrate live data directly from the truck into their solutions.
Networking vehicles offers a series of starting points for solutions that enable the driver to drive safer and more efficiently. The aim is to strengthen the digital driving experience with software products that could be used in the areas of Life Service, Art and Culture, Entertainment and Education as well as Smart Home & IOT. For example, creative handling when using control sensors in Car-to-X would be conceivable. Developers in the In-Car Coding Community can refer to components of MBUX and play with the numerous possibilities that the touchpad or the intelligent voice assistant has to offer.
After submitting their concept ideas, the applicants go through a multi-stage selection process in which the product ideas are further refined and elaborated. In a mentoring phase, the finalists are supported by experts from the specialist departments of Mercedes-Benz AG for the final pitch presentation at the Mercedes me Convention in April 2021. The new hybrid planned event format offers an open and inspiring platform for people from different digital industries and focuses clearly on the future of digitalization through dialogue, interaction, networking and entertainment. The in-house series of events will kick off with an internationally diverse developer community that will provide innovative insights into the company’s approach to digitization. The Mercedes me Convention offers a platform for programmers, UI/UX designers, researchers and other interested parties and experts in the digitization and development ecosystem.