Google, Mercedes-Benz Partner to Develop Branded Navigation for Carmaker

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Mercedes-Benz said on Wednesday that it has partnered with Google to develop branded navigation for its new MB.OS operating system, as carmakers seek more control over technology in their vehicles.

The system will equip Mercedes-Benz cars with Google traffic information and automatic rerouting, and enable drivers to watch YouTube on the cars’ entertainment system when the car is parked, or in Level 3 autonomous driving mode.

Level 3 driving, for which Mercedes-Benz has received certification in Germany and Nevada, allows a driver to take their eyes off the wheel on certain roads as long as they can resume control if needed.

Google and Mercedes-Benz also agreed to explore further collaboration with Google Cloud data and artificial intelligence capabilities.

Mercedes-Benz is moving from a patchwork approach of integrating software from a range of suppliers to controlling the core of its software, Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius said on a media call on Wednesday, ”That’s where the paradigm shift is going on in the auto industry.”

Mercedes will control the hardware and software “base layer” but work with partners for various services and content, the luxury carmaker said at a software-oriented capital markets day held in California.

Technology companies are racing to control carmakers’ dashboards and automated driving features as software becomes an integral part of car design, but some carmakers are wary of allowing tech giants unfettered access to their cars’ valuable data.

The MB.OS operating system is due to launch in the middle of the decade in vehicles on the modular architecture — or MMA — platform, which will underpin its future compact cars, and be rolled out across the product line from then on.

A precursor to the system will be available in the new E-Class from 2023.

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

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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