Photo: Daimler AG

Suppose you are a student or a member of a start-up and you have some great ideas for automotive software. But how do you ever bring your brilliant ideas to the design departments of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers? Simple. Just sign up for Mercedes Benz’s ‘In-Car Coding Community.’

The German carmaker is looking for the most innovative and creative software concepts for cars via an international competition. Both start-ups and established companies are eligible to participate. Mercedes-Benz wants to further improve digital mobility with the help of this competition. The best concepts will actually be incorporated as apps into the carmaker’s various models.

Software

Software plays an increasingly important role in the construction of cars. Mercedes Benz is among the leaders when it comes to the digitalization of the cockpit. “Through the In-Car Coding Community, we offer a whole ecosystem around software development. This involves an ongoing exchange of ideas and close cooperation during the development process between external developers and our internal experts,” said Jasmin Eichler, Director of Future Technologies at Group Research. “The focus of the new community is on applications. This is a great opportunity for us to develop software together with external partners and work on new services.”

Future partners

The company stresses that they are clearly looking to collaborate with professional parties. “This is not a hackathon or a brainstorming session. The In-Car Community is about business,” said Georges Massing, Vice President of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “We offer direct access to one of the world’s most valuable brands and its millions of customers. We’re not just looking for excellent new ideas,” says Massing, “we’re looking for partners for the future.”

The mobility of the future, according to the carmaker, is predicated on network services. Integrated into on-board systems, they are providing ever more services, comfort, safety and entertainment in vehicles. The infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) already offers its users a wide range of services.

These include, for example, streaming music, keeping up with a driver’s digital logbook, a traffic jam assistant, or the option of using voice commands to make phone calls, send text messages or even have texts read to you. Where electric vehicles are concerned, the MBUX also helps to find charging stations, including indicating the amount of power required to reach the charging station and the battery’s actual status.

Open program interfaces

Mercedes wants a lot more of these handy apps in its cars. Which is why the In-Car Coding Community was created. Together with software developers, start-ups, companies and data scientists, the company wants to “shape the mobility of the future.” Those participating in this community will be able to access the MBUX infotainment system through what is known as the Software Development Kit (SDK).

External developers are being given free access to a large number of open program interfaces. These are used for controlling comfort levels, entertainment and safety features through a vehicle’s electronics. There are no limits placed on applicants when it comes to the conception and development of their ideas.

Once they have submitted their concept ideas, applicants go through a selection process . Their product ideas are then fine-tuned and developed further. During the guidance phase, experts from of Mercedes-Benz AG’s specialized departments support the finalists in their final presentation at the Mercedes-Me Convention in April 2021.

Applications for participating can be submitted to www.in-car-coding.com as of today and up until March 14, 2021.

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About the author

Author profile picture Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.