Technology and Innovation

AI and Blockchain: Is Daimler the digital champion of the automotive industry?

 Daimler AG is one of the German giants of the automotive industry and the mother company of Mercedes-Benz and smart. The company is very well known for its car brands but owns other digital platforms which operate in the mobility ecosystem such as Car2Go, Moovel, and MyTaxi apps. 

 Since a few years ago, CES Las Vegas hosts also automotive brands. Today, car makers are in a fast race towards digitization, while some brands show their vision in the upcoming years with connected and autonomous vehicles, Daimler is going straight forward and claims itself as the automotive industry digital champion. During the last CES, Mercedes-Benz announced the launch of its own voice assistant. “Hey Mercedes”, will trigger a voice assistant while driving to allow the driver to command by voice requests. Users can send messages or emails, change the light mood, turn off the AC and do many others things just by asking the voice assistant. While many car manufacturers are seeking partnerships with Google or Amazon to benefit from their voice assistants, Daimler makes it loud and clear that it wants to compete with the digital giants and take its own risks. 

Beyond being just a voice assistant, it is an artificial intelligence capable of not only taking straight independent orders but have a conversation. If the driver asks the assistant to set the temperature at 22° and then says “it’s too hot”, the assistant will take down some degrees as a continuity of the conversation. These features make the voice assistant of Daimler useful and also powerful for a first version, while we think that these type of innovations only belongs to internet giants, Daimler is leading the automotive 

industry and car makers to avoid being fully dependent in their digital transformation during the upcoming years. 

Blockchain for green: 

A few months later at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Daimler strikes again by presenting a blockchain-based project. Two engineers presented MobiCoin after winning an internal innovation contest at the company. The platform will gather data from the car and convert it to coins according to acceleration, braking, and speed. The mobile app will calculate the eco-score of the driver, the more drivers use good practices, drive smoothly and coast the more they earn points called mobicoins. This cryptocurrency can be accumulated, transferred to other users and even exchanged for sports tickets or events. Users can also compare their score with colleagues and friends or compare different drivers using the same car. Gamification would be also included to set challenges between members of the community, especially regarding topics like carpooling to encourage people to share their cars. As you are already thinking about it, the score doesn’t change in real-time to avoid drivers checking their smartphone while driving. 

Daimler has already launched a first version of the app, 500 volunteers are participating in a testing phase using their cars. As blockchain doesn’t make it possible for drivers to cheat, Daimler is collecting lots of useful data to be able to scale quickly in case of a worldwide launch says Thomas Sauer from Finance department. 

Daimler’s plan DITNO: 

According to Daimler’s CDO Sabine Scheunert, the launch if these digital projects is made possible thanks to a deep IT transformation of the company called DITNO (Data Is The New Oil). The idea is to use data in all domains at Daimler. This strategy is built around five main pillars: go fast, reinforce interactions with the customer, create useful insights, digitize conception and production tools and give power to employees. Thanks to Data, Daimler aims at creating a virtual twin for each vehicle in order to offer predictive maintenance offers and system updates. “We want to be in touch with our customers on a daily basis, not only during the purchase or the maintenance”, said Sabine Scheunert 

Other car makers taking the first steps: 

During the last few months, many car manufacturers started adopting blockchain. Still, in Germany, BMW announced in February it partnership with VeChain, the platform which enhances supply chain thanks to the blockchain. Also, Porsche announced their partnership with the German start-up XAIN to use blockchain for autonomous driving features. 

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Mehdi KAIDI

Mehdi KAIDI