LIVE FROM CES ASIA, SHANGHAI: Mercedes-Benz yesterday joined the crowd in expanding its partnership with internet search and maps provider Baidu to give its car owners more personalised connected-vehicle services.
Mercedes-Benz said it will integrate Baidu’s CarLife, a smartphone-based in-car infotainment system, into its cars in China. CarLife is designed for smartphone integration in cars, similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It transfers content from a smartphone via WiFi or USB to the car’s screen, with the functions controlled by the vehicle HMI (human machine interface) or a controller or touchpad.
The announcement follows Audi saying on Friday it will also enhance its partnership with Baidu to boost its connected car offering in China by integrating the CarLife platform into Audi cars.
Baidu is one of the world’s five most visited websites and offers a wide range of web-based services.
Mercedes-Benz said it was the first automaker in China to integrate Baidu’s Street View into its vehicles in 2013 and last year opened an R&D centre in Beijing, which will have 500 engineers by the end of the year.
Hubertus Troska, responsible for Mercedes-Benz in Greater China, said that to be successful in China in the long term, it has to focus on the digital lifestyle and trends of its youngest customer group.