2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMGEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz, together with Hughes Telematics, is launching a new feature today that will allow owners of its vehicles access to a 18 different services via a nifty telematics system.
Called “mbrace”, the new system offers everything from a vehicle locator for crowded car parks, somebody to direct you if you get lost or even the ability to order online--all whilst sitting in the driver’s seat.
Similar to Ford’s Sync system and GM’s OnStar, mbrace also enables pairing of smart phones like iPhones and BlackBerrys to the car’s electronic interface. Drivers can then use their phones to lock or unlock their cars remotely.
Other services include automatic emergency service notification in case the car is stolen or in an accident, a vehicle health check function that goes live to the nearest dealership, real-time weather and traffic reports, and even a concierge service that gets you 24/7 access to a customer-service rep who will help you make dinner reservations, book a hotel or order a flight.
The mbrace system is being offered as standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz models except the GLK, C-Class, SLK and the new E-Class Coupe, where it is being offered as an option. A subscription to the service is free for the six months, after which it will cost $280 a year. An additional $20 per month is needed for the concierge service.
What makes mbrace really stand out is that it is fully upgradable, with new applications easily installed as they are developed. Furthermore, most vehicle owners using the current Tele Aid telematics service can also upgrade to mbrace by visiting a Mercedes-Benz dealer.