Data hunter Google: Soon to be on board with Mercedes
As part of an extensive software realignment, Mercedes-Benz AG will be relying on Google in the near future. The search engine giant is to help improve the navigation software in the vehicles. But the strategy is not without controversy. After all, the Alphabet subsidiary is known for its data collection mania.
New operating system from 2025
From 2025, the new, company-owned operating system MB.OS will be used in all vehicles of Mercedes-Benz AG. At the same time, the introduction of the new MMA vehicle platform is planned. The plan stipulates that all vehicle functions are controlled by the in-house operating system and that the software is always updated and kept up to date. This was announced by the Board at the end of February.
Accordingly, the entire infotainment system is controlled via the operating system. This means that the Google subsidiary YouTube as well as the video conferencing services Zoom and Webex will be available. Video streaming should be possible as well as the organization of video conferences. Mercedes is working with strategic partners to achieve its ambitious goals. In addition to Google, the luxury car manufacturer has brought the game provider Antstream and the US software specialist Nvidia on board.
Ambitious plans: software sales in the billions
With its strategy of using its own technology and ceding as little revenue as possible to tech competitors from Silicon Valley, Mercedes is pursuing an ambitious goal. By 2030, the company wants to earn almost 10 billion euros with its software. By 2025, the car manufacturer wants to generate a billion euros in profit with its in-house software. Whether the conversion of the cars into rolling computers is worthwhile in the end remains to be seen. The fact is that the conversion from combustion to electric cars is a costly affair and Mercedes must open up further market areas in order to remain competitive.
Strategic partnership with Google
According to Mercedes, the strategic partnership with Google means the introduction of a new generation of in-car navigation systems. The driver no longer has to pair his smartphone with the vehicle and still has extensive access to the navigation functions of Google Maps. In addition, there is information on individually preferred destinations such as hotels, gas stations and restaurants.
Google on board: Where does the data end up?
Some Mercedes drivers will be uneasy about the strategic partnership between Mercedes and Google. The search engine giant has a dubious reputation for being a data thief.
In 2019, a case in the USA caused a stir when it became known that Google had tapped millions of patient data. This included extremely sensitive data such as laboratory values, diagnoses and hospital records. And all this was done without the people concerned knowing about it. Google gained access via health apps that patients had installed on their smartphones.
Back to Mercedes: When asked, the carmaker announced that all data is only shared with the explicit consent of the drivers and is also anonymized. Let's hope that the luxury car manufacturer will not have to report a data leak in its own operating system at some point.