So yes, it does work something like Pokemon Go, overlaying information on the view from a camera, but Mercedes' system isn't displaying Pikachus and Charizards. When first responders boot the app up at the scene of an accident, they get a 3D representation of the systems underneath a vehicle's skin. That means fuel lines, high-voltage systems in hybrids and EVs, batteries, and safety equipment like airbags are all rendered in interactive detail for rescuers. They can zoom and rotate, all in order to get an ideal image of the situation and proceed safely. In short, it takes some of the guesswork out of sawing a car open.
The app is an evolution of the existing Rescue Assist program, which allows emergency workers to look up static schematics of a vehicle quickly online. The AR app works without a WiFi or cellular signal and is preloaded with info on every Mercedes passenger vehicle built after 1990, every Mercedes van from 1996, and every Smart since the first one from 1998. It also works with certain Fuso Canter and Canter commercial vehicles. Like the previous iteration of Rescue Assist, the app relies on a QR code on the B-pillar or inside the fuel door of newer models. Owners of older cars will need to go to their dealer to get the right code sticker. We guess Mercedes went this route to prevent rescuers from selecting the wrong vehicle – imagine the danger of cutting into a hybrid with the overlay of a gas model – but it's possible vehicle owners won't know or understand the sticker's importance and might not make the effort to get one.
The app will be free on iOS and Android and available in 24 languages.