Mercedes-Benz owners of 2016 and 2017 models across the United States will now be able to take their Amazon Echo or Google Home experience wherever they go. No, you don’t need seat space or a device holder; Echo and Home can now integrate with Mercedes’ ‘mbrace’ on-board intelligent connected system via ‘Mercedes me’ on their smartphones.
Mbrace is essentially a set of software applications – services and features – that are offered standard with any Mercedes-Benz car that you buy. The base package for remote access is free, but there are add-ons that you can subscribe to for safety and security, travel and assistant, and entertainment.
By integrating with the company’s onboard connected platform, Amazon Echo and Google Home will be able to extend user experience to mutual control over car and home. For example, you can instruct your car’s onboard system to turn off the gas or turn off the iron, assuming these are smart devices that are connected to your Echo or Google home hubs. Alternatively, you will be able to unlock or even start your car from the comfort of your home, ask it to turn on the heat or your favorite music, and so on.
Mercedes-Benz is not the first automaker to introduce smart speaker access to their cars, but most of them are averse to using proprietary systems like Apple’s CarPlay or Android Auto. They prefer to go the way of Ford, which is integrating Amazon Alexa with its onboard SYNC 3 connected platform, and making fully connected cars with Echo and Alexa integration available this year.
Mercedes-Benz actually said three years ago that they would add Nest support, giving their customers access to their smart home devices. Now that Amazon Echo and Google Home are selling like hotcakes, they’re decided to go all in with smart assistant integration.
Presumably, once Microsoft’s Harman/Kardon Invoke is out later this year and Apple’s own smart speaker is released, Mercedes-Benz will add integration for those devices as well, extending their reach across four of the top voice-activated smart assistants in the world: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and Apple Siri.
By then, even more automakers will have jumped on the home-car connectivity bandwagon, and mainstream automobile consumers will be able to feel the massive effect of integrated connectivity in their lives.
Source: The Verge