Working with Hughes Telematics Inc, Mercedes-Benz has created a new and far more interactive replacement for its decade-old Tele Aid system. Officially dubbed "mbrace," Mercedes says the system will allow owners of its vehicles to "a new generation of innovative and personalized services that fit our drivers' mobile lifestyles, keeping them connected to the people, places and services that are important to them." For the first time, M-B owners will be able to directly interact with their vehicles by via iPhone or Blackberry -- or even a computer -- to do things like remotely lock/unlock its doors or locate it in a crowded parking lot. The mbrace platform also has the capability to be upgraded with additional applications via a host of today's and tomorrow's "smart" phones and other devices. One other bit of welcome news: The automaker says owners of most current Mercedes-Benz models will be able upgrade their existing Tele Aid systems to mbrace spec.
At its introduction, mbrace offers 18 specific features -- five as part of a premium mbrace PLUS package -- broken into three main functional groupings. The Safety & Security set includes Automatic Collision Notification, SOS/Emergency Calling, Safe Ride, Roadside Assistance Connection (in-vehicle and mobile application), Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, Automatic Alarm Notification, Vehicle Information and Crisis Assist. The Navigation & Destination Planning includes both basic navigation services plus a Search & Send feature while the Convenience category encompasses Remote Door Unlock and Lock (remote application), Vehicle Finder (via mobile application), and Dealer Connect (mobile application). Stepping up to the optional mbrace PLUS adds Location-Based Weather, Location-Based Traffic, agent-assisted Route Assistance, Point-of-Interest Destination Download (through agent), and the Mercedes-Benz Concierge service that can provide a host of helps from making reservations to providing cash wire assistance.