Hughes Telematics recently announced its partnership with Mercedes-Benz on the automaker's new line of "mbrace" mobile telematics solutions. The system, which connects mbrace-equipped vehicles with an app installed on the user's Apple iPhone or RIM Blackberry, allows people to lock and unlock their doors, contact roadside assistance, get in touch with a local dealer or find their vehicle in a crowded parking lot. It's a relatively trick technology that we spent some time with at the LA Auto Show
Back in 2008 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we got to spend some time in a Jeep Grand Cherokee outfitted with a bunch of technogoodies from Hughes Telematics. And again at this year's CES, Hughes let us play with even cooler stuff in a Dodge Journey. They bragged of downloadable apps for your Chrysler-branded vehicle and super-cool, futuristic travel guides from your in-dash nav system. Stuff that might convince someone to actually purchase a Journey.
What's good for the iPhone is apparently good for the sedan. Hughes Telematics is working up a suite of programs that will work with its in-car communications technology and allow you to download applications for your car. From tailored data collection to controlling your car's systems with your phone to repurposing your car's features, the possibilities will turn your humble transport into the ultimate programmable appliance when Hughes releases the software to be ready in 2010. Let the betting
On our final night in Vegas, Hughes Telematics invited us over to talk about their work in... well... telematics. Among their demo vehicles was a Dodge Journey outfitted with what is essentially Chrysler's version of OnStar. The Journey will be Chrysler's first product with the service and should be available this summer.
Back in December, Hughes Telematics announced it would be providing technology for use in Mercedes vehicles, and they also worked out a deal with Chrysler the prior January. Hughes says its telematics system will one day be standard on all Chrysler products, and that the company hopes to expand beyond Mercedes and Chrysler, as well. "Hughes is talking to every OEM except General Motors," we were told.
As suspected, Hughes Telematics announced today that it would be supplying Mercedes-Benz with a new hardware and software platform that will bring in-car navigation, safety and infotainment to the next level. The press release after the jump doesn't get into a lot of detail about what new features await Benz buyers when the system is implemented in 2009, but with Mercedes' consistent focus to provide its owners with the most high-tech, gee-wiz gadgetry, we're sure it will be suitably impressive.
We're not going out on a limb by saying that the future of in-car technology is connecting all our electronic detritus into a cohesive network. Ford's Sync system has already made that possible on many fronts and GM's OnStar has set a new standard for safety, navigation and communication. Atlanta-based Hughes Telematics is announcing a new system that will fuse both of those systems into a comprehensive whole and selling a subscription service akin to OnStar's arrangement.