At a show where smart TVs are proliferating, Mercedes-Benz wants a smarter car.
“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism,” said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Mercedes-Benz during his first keynote at CES in Las Vegas while discussing the company’s CarTogether initiative in front of a giant image of Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara. “But if that’s the case, viva la revolucion!”
Running with the theme, Zetsche called the car “a personal declaration of independence,” saying new smart vehicles that will hit the road from Mercedes and its rivals will provide drivers with “more than a mode of transportation.”
“Some might consider the car a mere accessory of consumer electronics,” he said, citing the heavy emphasis at CES on smartphones pairing with new vehicles. “Some consider consumer electronics a mere accessory to the car. Both perspectives miss the mark.”
He said the Internet and cloud-based connections are helping turn “automobiles to auto-mobility. In large part, that mobility will be fueled by software.”
Touting “life, liberty and the pursuit of mobility,” Zetsche said Mercedes’ CarTogether program would help reduce emissions by using social networks like Facebook.
Mercedes also is eyeing Twitter to notify drivers when their car is charged and alleviate the “range anxiety” electric car owners have.
He also sees a future when sensors in cars and crowd sourcing can help reduce traffic. “We use the web to manage huge amounts of data traffic,” he said. “So why not use it to manage huge amounts of road traffic?”