Newer Mercedes-Benz models can not only park themselves, they can also figure out where the best parking spots are located.
Daimler’s Active Parking Assist, which was tested successfully on frazzled holiday shoppers in Stuttgart back in 2011, combines tech from various sources and is designed to alert you when you pass by a suitable parking space.
To show customers how this new technology could work in the future, Daimler, in a brilliant marketing campaign, connected Active Parking Assist to Twitter and then drove a Mercedes around Stuttgart tweeting out all the available parking spaces to anyone following the Twitter handle.
Through a combination of sensor technology, GPS, and social, theoretically, Daimler suggested, our car can share valuable information not only with its driver, but drivers everywhere.
This is a pretty big idea. But this kind of high-tech gadgetry is a prime example of the software and service trends sweeping across multiple industries, and the automotive industry in particular.
It’s no longer just about designing cool-looking cars, it’s about how our vehicles can interconnect with and service our needs in multiple ways.
Studies indicate that consumers will soon be crying out for a variety of mobility services. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the number of car-share users in Europe alone will increase from 700,000 in 2011 to 15 million by 2020. At the same time, the number of people living in cities is steadily increasing, which adds to the pressure on manufactures to become evermore innovative and fly the course.
One of Daimler’s first major mobility projects, Car2Go, was started in a mid-sized city in southern Germany in 2008. The user could pick up and drop off the borrowed car anywhere within the city. He paid only for the amount of time driven and wasn’t required to refill the tank or pay parking fees.
Today, Car2Go offers 6,100 cars in 18 cities in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. This year, the company will expand to 10,000 cars and expects to exceed a turnover of 100 million Euro by 2014. In addition this year the service will be extended to companies. Of course, rental and payment will be handled via smartphones.
Daimler also has great expectations for its online platform moovel, currently a pilot project in Stuttgart and Berlin. moovel is an app that informs users which methods of transportation will get them from A to B fastest. So far a somewhat limited offer, Daimler is looking to bring in as many partners as possible, including the Deutsche Bahn.
The motor giant plans to make moovel available for booking and payment through the customer’s smartphone. The customer will only have to input location and destination to receive the best and fastest combination of transportation. This extended service is not available in any app to date.
Photo courtesy of Daimler