Daimler brings car-to-x technology to production vehicles

June 14, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
After years of discussion and development, Daimler presses ahead and announces to equip serial vehicles with car-to-x communications capability before the end of the year. In order to speed the introduction, the technology will be implemented as a smartphone app along with an option kit. The kit also can be installed in stock vehicles as a retrofit solution.

The car-to-x technology enables motorists to virtually see around the corner or beyond obstacles, thereby helping to reduce blind spots and increase the overall traffic safety. "The technology's greatest potential lies in this expansion of the telematics horizon", said Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimer AG.

The car-to-x communications capability is provided by means of the Drive Kit Plus option which will be used in combination with a smartphone. On the latter, an app developed by Mercedes-Benz ("Digital DriveStyle") will be installed that carries the necessary functionality. The smartphone takes the part of the data transport over the air.

Daimler regards the smartphone approach as the fastest way to deploy the technology and also the quickest way to "unlocking the safety potential of car-to-x technology", as the company puts it. Indeed, the technology hitherto faced a problem: As long as not at least a double-digit percentage of the vehicles is equipped with car-to-car communications, it does not make much sense from the customer's perspective to buy this option. This assessment, in turn, would keep the number of users low - the classical chicken-and-egg problem. The smartphone solution seems to have the potential to overcome this problem.

How does Car-to-X technology work in vehicles? When warning messages are issued in the vicinity of the vehicle, from example by an emergency services vehicle or a broken down vehicle, the driver receives a warning in advance in good time and the hazardous location is marked on the map. With this information he has the option of adjusting his driving style and speed in such a way that a dangerous situation does not even arise in the first place. Thanks to Car-to-X technology, the driver can also be warned at an early stage about wrong-way drivers or dangerous weather conditions.

In addition to receiving warning messages, each vehicle fitted with Car-to-X communication can also transmit information on dangers to other