The tie that binds: Connecting drivers to vehicles

Dec. 30, 2013

 Mercedes-Benz recently announced a strategic partnership with Silicon Valley-based  Pebble Technology. As a result, attendees at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will have the opportunity to see first-hand (or first wrist in this case) where human-to-vehicle interaction might go next.

 At its CES booth, Mercedes-Benz will demonstrate how an intelligently networked vehicle becomes a part of the "internet of things" - and what benefits this can have for the customer. For this proof of concept, the developers at Mercedes have reinvented Mercedes’ Digital DriveStyle application in order to allow it to communicate with Pebble smart watches.

 What this means to the user is that Pebble's smart wrist watch acts as a "second screen" for a smartphone, unlocking some interesting features-- for the connected car, in this case. For example, when outside his or her vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz driver can still see vehicle information at a glance, such as fuel level, door-lock status and vehicle location using the Pebble smart watch.

As the driver enters the car, the companion Pebble smart watch application begins to also alert its driver to real-time hazards like accidents, road construction, or stalled vehicles. The watch is designed to vibrate when trouble is ahead. Users can also customize the three watch buttons to activate Digital DriveStyle features such as reporting hazards, auto-routing, Siri activation, remote-controlling media or displaying nearby traffic conditions.

 According to the news release, the partnership with Pebble gives Mercedes-Benz early access to some of the newest hardware and early releases of application programming interfaces (APIs) allowing it to develop innovative integrated applications that pave the way for the future of in-vehicle use cases.  

 Can commercial truck versions of this technology be far behind?  Imagine checking tire inflation, oil pressure, fuel and DEF levels, cargo temperature, traffic advisories… all from your watch.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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