Mercedes-Benz will allow external developers to create applications for their cars
Steve Jobs took a breakthrough ten years ago when he first gave programmers access to Apple's development kit. Within days, the iOS Software Development Toolkit (SDK) was downloaded more than 100,000 times. The idea was to give software experts access to a programming interface that would help them to apply their own ideas and develop useful iPhone applications. As a result, thousands of innovative features have been created, without which many of us would almost be unable to imagine everyday life.
The same approach is now taken by Mercedes-Benz. The company is becoming one of the first automakers to enable software developers around the world to access their own development environment. In addition, at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, experts had the opportunity to test the Mercedes-Benz Mobile SDK and its many in-car applications for the first time during the 24-hour hackathon. The brand SDK will be accessible to the developer community through the Mercedes-Benz platform (https://developer.mercedes-benz.com) and the GitHub interface.
The goal is to expand the Mercedes me software environment with additional services and offer customers a lot more use. “Mercedes me already offers countless digital services such as remote independent parking heater from anywhere in the world, sharing your vehicle location with Amazon Alexa or Google Home, finding the right parking space using real-time information, unlocking, locking and starting using a smartphone using NFC or sharing your car with friends or acquaintances. We are convinced that a large global developer community can come up with a number of creative and innovative ideas that can make our customers happy in the future, ”says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Daimler AG for Mercedes-Benz Cars sales and marketing.
The Mercedes-Benz Mobile SDK is a toolkit for developing specifically focused software. It provides developers with access to various interfaces used in the vehicle. For example, the amount of fuel remaining or distance traveled. The SDK also opens access to basic features such as Mercedes me credentials, giving programmers in start-up companies the freedom to create new solutions and business models.
Security always comes first
The issue of safety is still the first priority. “When we talk about the Mercedes-Benz Mobile SDK and the ability to connect the vehicle itself to the outside world, all operations will be assessed and performed exclusively by the Daimler Vehicle Backend, which is protected by appropriate security mechanisms. Also, all data will be stored on this secure server. We take proven steps to ensure IT security that is in line with the latest recommendations of the German Federal Cyber Security Authority (BSI), ”emphasizes Sajjad Khan, executive vice president and board member of the CASE division of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Mercedes-Benz's development experts focus primarily on the customer, so the anticipation of client needs is reflected in the early stages of the design of digitally connected services. For the same reason, all systems and services are developed from the outset to ensure first-class data protection. It is at the sole discretion of the customer to decide whether to use Daimler Backend to share their data with third parties while taking advantage of the features offered. This approach applies to all Mercedes-Benz offers.
Hackathon Mercedes-Benz at the Frankfurt Motor Show
Under the slogan STOP TALKING – START HACKING was held at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show a 24-hour hackathon. Over 60 young programmers in 12 teams had the opportunity to create new services using the Mercedes-Benz Mobile SDK software tools. All participants signed up for hackathon through the developer platform at https://developer.mercedes-benz.com/hackiaa/.
At the end of the 24-hour contest, the results were evaluated by a committee consisting of Dr. Martin Zimmermann (Head of Mercedes-Benz After-Sales Services and Head of Customer Support, Sales and Data Security and Mercedes-Benz Cars Digital Stores), Georges Massing (Mercedes-Benz Cars Digital Development and Mobility Department), Sabine Scheunert (IT Specialist at Mercedes-Benz Sales), Harald Rudolph (Daimler Strategic Development Department) and Daniel Manzke (Finleap Vice President). The hackathon participants had no time to give away, because each team was given only three minutes to best present their project to the judges.
Of course, everyone wanted to finish first, because the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class was ready for the winning team. All winners had the opportunity to get so-called APIs (Application Programming Interface) and SDK credits worth up to € 60,000. The special prize for an extraordinarily innovative idea was prepared as a reward for attending the DigitalLife @ Daimer team at the next Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The awards were presented by Britta Seeger and Sajjad Khan, both highlighting the extraordinary creativity and great commitment of all participants. Hackathon at the Frankfurt Motor Show was part of the globally successful series of hackathons of the DigitalLife Campus, organized by the DigitalLife @ Daimler initiative.
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Mercedes-Benz Hackathon winners
The first prize, a brand new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, along with € 20,000 in SDK credits, was awarded to the CleanAI start-up. Four experts presented their idea of using artificial intelligence to detect pollution or dangers in shared cars. They convinced the jury by specifically naming and also solving a problem that could both end users and large fleet operators. During the three-minute presentation, they demonstrated the perfect combination of integrating their system into the corporate SDK, user interface functionality, and business model.
The second prize, with a grant of 10,000 euros in SDK credits, went to the VIMCAR start-up. The Berlin team presented the children's app.
The third place and the amount of 5000 euros in SDK credits received a start-up autoaid. Their contribution was an application that allowed drivers to share their most impressive experiences with the car through various social networks.
The start-up mobileAPP was awarded the special prize for an exceptionally innovative idea. The programmers designed the application for leasing and Mercedes-Benz users and for brand dealers. The team from Hanover, together with DigitalLife @ Daimler, will visit the next Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, thanks to this trophy.