GOOD NEWS for teenagers: your parents are more likely to lend you their Mercedes. Bad news for teenagers: they’ll probably be spying on you via smartphone. A system
due to be launched later this year by the German manufacturer will give car owners access to their vehicle’s trip computer and location via a password-protected website.
It will be accessible by computer, tablet or smartphone.
As well as providing real-time details of the vehicle’s average speed and acceleration, the system, called Connect Me, can also be set up to alert a car’s owner if the vehicle strays from a preset zone, such as a given radius from home.
Cars fitted with the system will be linked to the internet via a Sim card fitted to the vehicle. This will act as a black box by sending information to a data centre in Maastricht, Holland. The information can then be accessed online.
The service can be deactivated by the driver, but Mercedes-owning parents will
be able to add a password, so that it cannot be disabled.
Other manufacturers have already begun selling vehicles with similar “remote control” functions. The Ford Fiesta is available with a feature called MyKey, which will limit the car’s top speed, reduce the loudest volume setting on the stereo and prevent electronic safety systems being switched off. Volvo’s On Call system allows drivers to track their car via smartphone if it is stolen.
The first car to be available with the new Connect Me feature will be the Mercedes
C-class estate but it will be extended across the company’s range. Basic functions offered as standard will include an emergency call function, so the car will automatically dial for help if it detects that it has been involved in an accident, and remote diagnostics, which detects worn parts and sends the information to a dealer. Remote monitoring is likely to be available for an additional charge.