Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric: Shaping Future Mobility
How do you feel when you think about the future? Is it a feeling of rising skepticism and diffuse uncertainty? Or is it rather a fascination because you’re thinking about the amazing solutions that intelligent technology is going to make possible?
For me personally, the answer is absolutely clear. The future — with megatrends such as digitalization and big data — offers unbelievable opportunities for the better utilization of resources, for safe, comfortable, and efficient mobility, and for a higher quality of life, especially in large cities and urban areas. As Head of CASE, I’m in the happy position of helping to shape the future of a successful global company.
CASE consists of the combination of the future-oriented areas Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric. Each one of these fields offers a wealth of opportunities and solutions that could significantly change our everyday life. But their true potential is in their combination.
Connected — new driving experience & services with MBUX
The Mercedes-Benz User Experience is a good example. We launched it on the market with the new A-Class, about a year ago. On the one hand, it supports the driver by means of intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, a navigation system with augmented reality technology, and in particular, the system’s learning capability, which is based on artificial intelligence.
On the other, MBUX opens the door to new shared services. Thanks to MBUX, the Mercedes me Car Sharing app enables the vehicle to be shared with family members and friends. At the same time, the system fulfills the preconditions for seamlessly integrating the car into additional connectivity features or linking it to intelligent wearables, Google Home, Amazon Alexa or smartphones. We presented seven vehicles with MBUX in 2018 as the Mercedes-Benz A- and B-Class, the EQC, the GLE and the GLE Coupe, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE and the new Sprinter. Eight more models will follow in 2019.
Autonomous driving — rethinking mobility
Artificial intelligence is also the basis for the operation of autonomously driving cars. Autonomous driving will fundamentally change mobility — but it won’t happen overnight. That’s why we’re taking two different approaches to realizing automated solutions: driver-controlled and system-controlled. In the driver-controlled approach, the automated system supports the driver with specific applications in certain situations. In the system-controlled approach, the system steers the vehicle from start to destination. As early as this year, in San José, California, we will be launching a test fleet of autonomously driving cars based on the current S-Class.
We’re also providing a glimpse of the more distant future of autonomous driving — with new vehicle concepts that enable a new type of mobility — in the form of the Vision URBANETIC, whose special communications features we presented at CES in Las Vegas this January. Mobility will no longer be characterized by the question of the best way to get from A to B using a predefined mode of transport. Future mobility concepts such as the Vision URBANETIC will give rise to a fundamental change of perspective and put the focus on how to accomplish the journey as comfortably, economically, and quickly as possible using any combination of various modes of transport. Ridesharing services will play an important role here. We are already operating successfully in this area with our joint venture ViaVan, which is on the road in Berlin, London, and Amsterdam. Concepts such as the Vision URBANETIC have the potential to further develop these services and raise them to a whole new level.
EQC — emerging into a new era
The EQC (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km), which we presented last year, is the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz. It represents a new era at Mercedes-Benz — our emergence into the era of emission-free mobility. It’s also a characteristic representative of our EQ brand. With it, we offer our customers a comprehensive ecosystem for electric mobility which includes innovative products as well as services and new technologies.
Coming soon: 130 electric vehicle variants from Mercedes-Benz
By 2022 we at Mercedes-Benz Cars intend to launch 130 electric vehicle variants on the market. To this end, we are investing €20 billion in battery technologies. By 2025 electric vehicles will account for 15 to 25 percent of our overall vehicle sales. Of course, this is also dependent on the further development of the necessary infrastructure and on customer preferences. By 2025 we intend to be playing the leading role in electric mobility in the premium segment.
The customer is always at the center of our activities. Our objective is to develop comfortable, user-friendly solutions for intuitive mobility. We want to develop easy-to-use solutions for complex requirements. To accomplish this we need to be prepared to trust in new partnerships, for example with companies such as NVIDIA, one of the world’s biggest developers of graphics processors and chipsets for personal computers. Together with our partner we will raise automotive technology to a new level, from individual electronic control units to the new development of vehicle architectures. That’s because the future of mobility has many faces. They all stand for a central promise: increased sustainability, increased safety, a better quality of life. And they are all founded on the future-oriented areas Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric.