Mercedes-Benz and Google have formed a long-term partnership to provide the automaker with more control over its intellectual property and market, while offering drivers navigation, maps, and YouTube provided by the tech giant. The partnership is designed to strike a balance between offering the Google services consumers want without ceding control over the entire operating system in the car. The licensing agreement will bring the Google Maps platform, Cloud, and YouTube into future Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with the automaker’s next-generation operating system called MB.OS.
Mercedes-Benz has been developing its own MB.OS operating system for several years now, which will launch in the next generation of Mercedes vehicles expected to go into production at the end of 2024. Mercedes has built the Linux-based system on its own and designed it to support third-party apps and services like those provided by Google.
The partnership will also extend beyond enabling Mercedes-Benz to design a customized navigation interface. Google will provide its AI and data capabilities to accelerate their sustainability efforts, advance autonomous driving, and create an enhanced customer experience. In addition, Mercedes said it plans to build its own branded navigation using new in-car geospatial data and navigation capabilities from Google Maps Platform.
Customers won’t have to wait years to experience the first fruits of the partnership. Mercedes announced that starting immediately, the automaker will give customers access to initial new features like Place Details, provided by Google, via an over-the-air software update. The precursor to MB.OS will also show up later this year in the new Mercedes E Class, where customers will be able to access apps like Tiktok and Zoom from the car’s infotainment system.
Mercedes’ end game is to make MB.OS so compelling that drivers no longer opt to use middleware products like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which mirror their smartphones to the car’s infotainment system. CTO Markus Schäfer said the ultimate goal of MB.OS is to create a customer experience so that there’s no need to plug in your phone.