German automaker Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, the third largest luxury automaker in the world, is going to offer in the models sold in China software made by web services company Baidu.
The decision is part of the larger drive to have today’s autos connected to the Internet much in the way we can remain connected to the outside world via our smartphone, with carmakers now having no other option but to have deep partnerships with consumer technology companies across the world. The automakers are intent on delivering extended information and entertainment services in their models, bundled with enhanced smartphone compatibility in an age and time when traffic means not just vehicles, but also bytes of information. The massive consumer electronics show CES in Shanghai, which rivals its Las Vegas peer, has been the venue of the announcement of the tie-up between the German manufacturer and Chinese technology giant Baidu.
The Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold on the Chinese market, the largest in the world, would be bundled with software from Baidu that allows drivers to seamlessly and safely access the content of their software on the car’s internal infotainment system and display – much in the way of Google’s Android Auto or Apple’s CarPlay. Both companies declined to provide a timeframe for the production of the first models with the embedded options. Daimler also recently announced a deal with mobile chipmaker Qualcomm to research the possibility of wireless recharging for mobile phones while driving and also the recharging of electric vehicles without using cables.