Mercedes Expected to Ditch Owners' Manuals For Augmented Reality App

Mercedes-Benz may gradually phase out physical owners' manuals, replacing them with its Ask Mercedes app.

Intelligente Dialogtechnologie kombiniert mit Augmented Reality: Ask Mercedes: Der virtuelle Assistent hilft sofort weiter
Daimler AG - Global Communicatio—Daimler AG

Does anybody really read their car's owner's manual? They're often hundreds of pages thick, with many pages existing only to cinch legal loopholes closed, and they're destined to occupy your glove box for the duration of ownership, or until the next trash pickup. Well, Mercedes-Benz can cut back on the thickness of some of its manuals thanks to its Ask Mercedes app, which the company says is now a permanent fixture for current premium models.

At present, owners of 2018 model year E- and S-class sedans who own an iPhone 6 or newer iPhone can open the app and use the camera and touchscreen on the phone to access details on the car's interior and functions rather than having to flip through the indexes of a paper manual. Once a feature's button is selected, the app communicates information on said feature via video, audio, and text.

Mercedes announced the app's pilot program in November, limited to E-class models sold in the United States, South Africa, and Malaysia. S-class compatibility arrived in a recent patch, and Daimler says the app will be available to owners of other models soon. Availability in Hong Kong, India, and Germany was promised to arrive this year, but no confirmation of the app's deployment in these markets has been given.

The Drive contacted Mercedes-Benz for additional information on models compatible with the Ask Mercedes app in the near future and its global market rollout, but no comment has yet been received. While Mercedes corporate did not clarify whether or not the Ask Mercedes app will replace or augment owners' manuals, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Westminster, Colorado shared an answer: E- and S-class sedans will continue to come with physical owners' manuals, but they will in time be replaced with the Ask Mercedes app.

"We are creating a personalized customer experience that goes well beyond the vehicle," said Britta Seeger, a member of Daimler's board of management, in a press release. "With innovative services such as Ask Mercedes, we are further expanding our digital ecosystem."

Mercedes smartphone apps also let drivers book cars as part of its Mercedes-Benz Collection subscription service, equivalents of which are offered by competitors such as Cadillac and BMW. None of these rivals offer services similar to Ask Mercedes, however, putting the Stuttgart-based automaker at the forefront of the switch to digital owners' manuals.

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