Mercedes-Benz is developing a system that would allow drivers to take their settings from their old car to a new one, reports Roy Furchgott in The New York Times (3/16/14). The transfer would only work between Mercedes-Benz cars, and is intended to keep customers from switching to another maker. “Today when you purchase a car or lease a car, you need to spend a long time, sometimes weeks, before you set your car up the way you want it,” says Johann Jungwirth of Mercedes.
Mercedes calls the system “the predictive user experience” and it “will observe how drivers and passengers use a car and analyze the data to anticipate their wants, from mirror positioning to GPS destinations … The project is an offshoot of the development of so-called connected cars, a concept advancing rapidly with the drop in the price of sensors and processing power,” enabling the measurement of “anything from who is in the car to how a driver likes to shift gears — and analyze that input to predict the next action.”
Sensors tune in directly on occupants. For example: “If the sensors detect a child in the car at 7:30 am on a weekday, it might automatically post a traffic report for the route to school on the navigation screen.” Such data would not be shared without the driver’s approval, Johann says. However, certain diagnostic data “would let dealers warn drivers of problems before they need roadside assistance.” Monitoring suspensions “to sense when a driver hits a pothole … could let authorities know where roadwork is needed.”