New cars have their dashboard full of new features and often new and occasional users do not know how to use that functionality. The printed user manuals take time to read and the user often wants to learn very quickly what a specific button does and not necessarily learn the whole dashboard functionality.
Mercedes-Benz’s goal is to increase the brand value and distinguish themselves not only by building very high quality vehicles with advanced features, but also by offering an excellent user experience through all the contact points with the customer.
Ask Mercedes is a free mobile app used as a product companion for the Mercedes-Benz E-class and S-class sedan which enables our customers to explore their car either via chat bot or via augmented reality component.
This is done by offering a more contextual user interface that would allow the user to simply point their mobile device to the dashboard’s panels to find out how to use them.
The idea was to use computer vision technology to recognize the shape of the dashboard and not have to add a visual marker to all vehicles. The Vuforia Engine was selected because of its ability to work with both image targets and object-based Model Targets.
A proof of concept was initially developed to assess the technology maturity level. Followed by the full pilot of the updated Ask Mercedes app, that included several hundred customers, was executed to further validate consumer acceptance and also evaluate the increase in user satisfaction.
The main benefit of this approach is that it increases the relevancy and speed of learning about the vehicle’s features. It also allows the Ask Mercedes team to understand which features are most important to learn to use for the drivers and follow through with improved instructions.