We don't know when or if self-driving cars will take over the roadways, but it's inevitable they'll change the way we spend time in the car. Mercedes-Benz's parent company, Daimler, recognizes that massive changes are afoot and has launched a competition called the In-Car Gaming Challenge to develop video games for the ride.

"In-car gaming," as the automaker calls it, is something Daimler believes will take off in the future and it wants the public to help envision future games. Applications are open to gamers, developers, and even students. Submissions can come from individuals or teams of up to five. Daimler also encourages participants to think outside the box and look at new ways gamers could play with others, whether that's in the car they are riding in, or with other riders in a separate self-driving car or bus.


Daimler in-car gaming development competition

Daimler in-car gaming development competition

The challenge includes a category for self-driving cars, as well as categories for buses and mobile applications. In-vehicle gaming for a bus could be tied to a route and blend virtual reality with the real world. The mobile app could allow gamers to play a particular game even when they're not in the car.

The games don't need to be simple time wasters. The automaker encourages learning games and experiences for children and adults. Additionally, participants are welcome to incorporate features of the car itself. For example, perhaps a racing game could use the car's steering wheel and pedals even as the car drives itself. Daimler thinks one day numerous vehicle features could work with an in-car game, such as the air conditioning to simulate wind, seat controls to simulate movement, and mood lighting to adapt to certain parts of a game.

The competition has some serious backing with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) serving as part of the judging panel. Prizes consist of tickets to ESL events and cash awards. The top prize winner will work with Daimler on a six-month pilot program to develop and potentially release their in-car game for a vehicle or a Mercedes-Benz app.

The In-Car Gaming Challenge runs until May 16. Interested parties can submit their entries at www.in-car-gaming.com.