Mercedes borrowed from the American Declaration of Independence Tuesday during the company's first-ever CES keynote speech.
The speech by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz, focused on the next generation of connected cars (Mercedes offerings included, naturally), as well as the concept of automotive mobility as a declaration of independence.
"After all, the car is also a personal Declaration of Independence--not only independence from horses or trains, but independence from distances," Zetsche said, "From the limits of your home town, from the local employers and landlords, at a certain age also from your parents, and perhaps Vegas motel rooms."
Zetsche went through five chapters to the "Declaration of Automotive Independence"--the Freedom of Time (seamless updates pushed to in-vehicle communications systems), the Freedom of Speech (new ways to communicate with your car), the Freedom of Access (independence from car ownership via car-sharing), the Freedom of Energy (electric vehicle offerings), and the Freedom of Information (software for crowd-sourcing road hazards and conditions). Zetsche did not include a push for freedom from debt--it's Mercedes-Benz, after all.
Zetsche explained several new offerings from Mercedes-Benz, including the second generation of its Mbrace telematics system, Mbrace2, which will include Facebook, Yelp, and Google Local Search apps, as well as remote access services and remote vehicle diagnostics. Mbrace2 will begin appearing in vehicles in spring 2012.
Zetsche also talked about Car2Go, Mercedes' electric vehicle car-sharing system that lets users access cars in cities around the world. Over 60,000 people currently have access to Car2Go, and Mercedes plans to add 12 new cities to the program in 2012.
In addition to Car2Go, Mercedes is introducing Car2Gether--a "social network for the road," Zetsche said. Car2Gether is a car-sharing program--like a carpool--except, thanks to connectivity there's an extra element of safety--you can choose to share your car with only your Facebook friends list, for example, or check out people's social networking profiles before opening your doors to them.
Interesting Keynote Tidbits
Mercedes is already producing B-Class F-CELLs as an alternative energy option, and Mercedes plans to offer a pilot app in Germany this year that will serve as a "personal mobility hub" for users to find the safest and most efficient route using crowd-sourced traffic and road hazard data.
Zetsche ended with a paraphrase of the Declaration of Independence, as applied to automobiles: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men have certain fundamental rights, and that among these are Live, Liberty, and the pursuit of Mobility."
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