German carmaker Mercedes is lining up alongside Silicon Valley luminaries to demonstrate its latest app developments as part of Google's annual developers event.
The DigitalDriveStyle app combines powerful Google search, location and mapping features into a single, safe-to-use-while-driving service for Mercedes owners. The system enables a driver to seamlessly integrate their smartphone into the car's infotainment architecture and for the device's apps to be categorized and displayed on the vehicle's dashboard screen and to be accessed via console buttons or through voice commands.
But as well as making the phone's existing functions easier and safer to access while driving, the DigitalDriveStyle app integrates predictive search into the Google Places API meaning that as a driver starts to type or dictate a destination, the software automatically predicts the most likely destination, whether it's a street, a shop or restaurant. By combining Google Street View and Google+ local images, users can also take 360° virtual tours of any intended destination before they set off. The app also adds ‘heatmaps' to searched for destinations to highlight areas with the highest predicted concentrations of people -- such as shopping centers and nightclubs.
Mercedes was the first car company to open a research and development centre in Silicon Valley -- its Palo Alto site opened way back in 1995. The car company has invested heavily in developing its own apps and services in-house, and the integration of Google's services into the latest edition of DigitalDriveStyle app -- which is being showcased at the I/O conference this week and will be pushed out to Mercedes owners later this year -- is a result of the close working relationship the two companies have formed. The irony is, however, that all of these innovations will not be coming to the Android platform. The DigitalDriveStyle app and the Drive Kit Plus -- the combination of hardware and software that enables a smartphone to be integrated into a Mercedes -- only work with the iPhone.