The number of computer-controlled functions added to vehicles continues to rise each year, and things are poised to accelerate as technologies related to autonomous driving and the Internet of Things advance. Car manufacturers find that they need a powerful operating system capable of controlling all the features of a car and that some choose to develop their system rather than an off-the-shelf system like Google’s Android.
The latest company to announce its own system is Mercedes-Benz, which on Friday said it will develop the new MB.OS (Mercedes-Benz Operating System) for launch in 2024.
In the race to build a “car of the future”, Daimler’s president Ola Källenius believes that the development of software platforms with independent intellectual property rights is essential. As he explained in an interview with the German Business Daily, this is for “the brain and central nervous system of future vehicles” to maintain the only way to digital sovereignty.
President Daimler described it as a “Windows-like system used in cars.” He plans to cooperate with Apple and Google in the future, but Daimler will reserve the right to control the customer interface and the data collected in future cars. Källenius said: “We will not hand over the entire system to others, but then they can use it digitally.”
Mercedes plans to hire 3,000 software engineers to develop the Operating System, with a third of these to work at a new software hub at the automaker’s main development site in Sindelfingen, Germany. Other software hubs will be located in cities around the globe including Berlin, Tel Aviv, Seattle, Sunnyvale, Beijing, Tokyo and Bangalore.
The new OS will also provide Mercedes with new opportunities to grow revenues, for instance by offering subscriptions to digital features that can be switched on or off by the owner after purchasing the vehicle. Mercedes said it plans to generate as much as 1 billion euros (approximately $1.2 billion ) in EBIT profits from digital services as soon as 2025.