Mercedes Pro Digital Services Debut Alongside Sprinter Van

With the launch of its latest large Sprinter van, Mercedes also announced a suite of digital services called Pro, designed to optimize communications between fleet managers, drivers and vehicles.

The platform allows for online control of orders and near real-time retrieval of vehicle information such as location through an LTE communication module installed in the Sprinter, which forms the interface between fleet manager and driver.

The new suite of services includes optimized assistance, which helps plan service and maintenance work, while fleet management updates improve utilization of the fleet capacity thanks to more up-to-date information regarding vehicle location and status.

In addition, improved navigation optimizes route planning based on real-time traffic data and offers the option of directly sending a point of interest (POI) to the vehicle as a navigation destination.

Driving style analysis provides data on the driving methods that could be used to optimize fuel consumption, while digital records allows for the saving of completed routes for the separate administration of business and private journeys.

A simplified fleet communication function optimizes the connection between driver and fleet manager, allowing them to send messages directly to the Mercedes Pro app and allocate assignments.

Finally, mobile vehicle access allows the Sprinter to be checked and locked remotely, and it is also possible to open the vehicle without a key.

The eight Pro packages offer a total of 18 services, and can be augmented through the optional Mercedes Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface on the Sprinter.

The MBUX multimedia system includes seven-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen displays and is controlled using the steering wheel controls, the touchscreen or the newly developed voice control system.

However, the company also noted use of the Pro services is possible in Sprinter models without MBUX.

The services, available free of charge in Germany until September, are initially available in 19 European markets and will be launched in the US during the third quarter of this year.

“One of the particular advantages is the modular and scalable structure of the system, Björn Sack, head of connectivity and digital services at Mercedes-Benz Vans, wrote in a statement. “Managers are able to choose the connectivity services that make the working day of the drivers and themselves easier.”

Smaller and medium-sized fleets would also benefit from evaluations and analyses that were previously only affordable for large fleets with stand-alone solutions.

“In addition, existing services are being updated continually, and further services are being added to the portfolio,” Sack added. “The necessary telematics are deeply integrated into the structure of the vehicle.”

MBUX customers can also use the new “what3words” address system, a coordinate platform dividing the world into squares measuring three meters by three meters.

Each of the squares is assigned a unique three-word address, which the company said makes navigation to places without an exact address simpler and more precise.

The German auto giant recently announced it is investing around $3 billion in research and development in the next two years, with nearly $600 million dedicated to e-mobility, connectivity and automated commercial vehicle technology.

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is planning to hand over a fleet of around 30 electric trucks to its first customers in the US over the course of the year, with series production planned for 2021.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209.

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