Mercedes is @yourCOMAND Weekly Brief—10.31.11

Mercedes is @yourCOMAND Weekly Brief—10.31.11

In this week's Brief: Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, HARMAN, VW Group, Continental, ESCORT, Cobra, DriveGain, Ecofys, TomTom, Amsterdam, and Daimler

Mercedes-Benz announced @yourCOMAND, a comprehensive cloud-based system that provides drivers with in-car connectivity and access to the latest apps. The system is voice controlled and offers high-end sound and high-resolution, 3D screens.

Mercedes believes the innovation will keep their vehicles up-to-date with the constant evolution of apps and cloud-based services. The company implemented the approach for the first time in its F 125! research vehicle, a fuel-cell hybrid that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

"@yourCOMAND turns the car into a mobile communications center that provides the driver and passengers with access to all modern media and services at all times,” says Thomas Weber, Daimler's head of Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

Toyota introduced Toyota Touch Life, a technology that allows drivers to fully integrate their smartphones into their Toyotas. The technology uses the latest industry connectivity protocols to mirror the smartphone's display on the infotainment system's touchscreen.

Drivers can access smartphone functionalities using steering wheel-based controls or the touchscreen surface. Toyota Touch Life will be available for the Toyota iQ city car towards the end of 2011 in selected markets.

HARMAN extended its relationship with the VW Group to provide new premium `Mid´ infotainment systems. The award is valued at approximately $400 million and will include three new programs with the VW Group.

First, the extension of HARMAN´s next generation infotainment product offering to further car lines in the fiscal year 2015; second, the extension of the current high infotainment system starting in fiscal year 2014; and third, offering a new infotainment head unit variant launching in fiscal year 2013.

Electronics supplier Continental released a new internet-based platform called “The Magic User Interface.”

The platform runs off an AutoLinQ connection that makes all settings available in the vehicle, where they can be called up via a freely configurable instrument cluster and a large touch screen above the center console.

Drivers can use voice-operated control, buttons on the steering wheel, or the touchscreen itself to control the system.

ESCORT and Cobra, rival manufacturers of radar detection systems in North America, each released community sharing elements to their devices, enabling users to share data about the latest speed traps or safety zones.

ESCORT unveiled a new mobile app to be paired with its radar detector, while Cobra added an iRadar Community to its latest software release.

DriveGain and Ecofys launched “Fueless,” a free iPhone app that gives drivers audio and visual feedback on how they can increase their fuel savings as they drive.

Drivers can save €180 per year on average, the companies claim. The Fueless website allows drivers to monitor their progress and compete with their friends and colleagues.

TomTom reported that its group revenue decreased by 10 percent to €336 million in the third quarter. Consumer revenue decreased by 23 percent while content and services increased 19 percent and automotive revenue increased 43 percent.

TomTom also expanded the geographical distribution of its Places iPhone app. The app will be available in Sweden, Norway, and Ireland in the coming month.

The free app uses TomTom maps and combines HD Traffic with TomTom's enhanced POI database of 5.5 million places, allowing iPhone users to search for relevant businesses or locations like hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, cash machines or tourist attractions.

Amsterdam announced plans to launch an electric vehicle car sharing fleet via Daimler’s Car2go program at the end of November. The fleet will consist of 300 smart fortwo EVs that people can rent on demand and return to any Car2go station in the city, similar to the popular Vélib’ bike service in Paris.

Amsterdam’s initiative will begin November 24th and will make Amsterdam the fifth city in Europe with a Car2go program, although Amsterdam’s fleet is the first to be exclusively electric.


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