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Ask Mercedes to do away with user manual

A-Class buyers will be able to use Ask Mercedes app to explain new tech features

Mercedes-Benz logo8 Aug 2018

MERCEDES-BENZ has updated its Ask Mercedes smartphone app to be compatible with its latest tech-heavy A-Class hatchback, meaning buyers can ditch the traditional paperback user manual in lieu of augmented reality software that can explain vehicle features.
 
Already available for use in the current E- and S-Class models, Ask Mercedes scans the dashboard to display unique annotations that explains the function of each button and switch.
 
The app, which is available on both Android and Apple devices, also supports text and voice input of questions such as the explanation of technical terminology, as well as being able to link off to diagrams and how-to videos for ease of use.
 
With the debut of the German brand’s new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system on the fourth-generation A-Class that launches in Australia this week in A200 guise, the Ask Mercedes program can now give a run down on the latest in-car technologies.
 
In addition, the A-Class is now offered with standard cutting edge features such as USB Type-C ports, wireless phone charging, artificial intelligence-powered suggestive functionality and natural language voice assistant activated by the phrase ‘hey Mercedes’, as well as active safety features including adaptive high beams, blind-spot assist with exit warning, autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition – all of which Ask Mercedes has been programmed to explain.
 
Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy said the Ask Mercedes app will be a great way for buyers upgrading from older A-Class models to get up to speed with all the new features and functionality.
 
“One of the challenges with technology, whether it’s your laptop or your phone or your car, is understanding it all and learning it all, and that’s where I think the app, for example, is going to be really (good),” he said.
 
“Now once you’ve lived with the car, of course, it becomes second nature, but even in the handover process of a new car, people are often so keen to just get in the car and drive it.
 
“So I think pointing things out like that app, people go ‘ah, now I know’ … because let’s be honest, we all struggle (with new technology).”
 
With such an abundance of new in-car technologies, Mr McCarthy said the new A-Class will appeal to “a whole new demographic of people”, but would likely not see the high circa-65 per cent conquest sales as the outgoing version.
 
“Someone like me often doesn’t use it all (the technology) and knows it’s there, but there will be people that want to use absolutely every part of it,” he said.
 
“I imagine people sitting in the car and not driving, using all those features, so I think that will bring in a whole new demographic of people.
 
“Parts of it will appeal to different people.”
 
When asked by GoAuto if the A-Class tips too much towards being a gadget like the latest smartphone, tablet or laptop, Mr McCarthy said the new technology just adds features to what the vehicle can already deliver.
 
“All of the technology adds another element to the car, but at the end of the day, when you drive the car, you’ll say: ‘oh actually, I like the engine, I like the suspension, I like the way it drives’,” he said.
 
“The technology (progression) doesn’t stop, the key is to make it easy to use, which I think we have, and to provide it in a car and a platform that people are going to want to drive.
 
“At the end of the day, it’s about the user experience, and people that spend a lot of time in their car, want that user experience to be better and easier to use.”

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