Mercedes-Benz can now enhance the wellbeing of its passengers through a coordinated stimulation of the senses in response to the driver’s state of mind. “Fit & Healthy,” which launches in the very near future, connects to a driver’s Mercedes Me profile, reading their wearable data and adjusting the car’s climate, lighting, seat massagers, entertainment systems and more to help create calmness or stimulation as needed. Debuting at CES 2017 in Las Vegas (and appearing in the 2017 S-Class), we spoke with Dr Goetz Renner, the program’s director, to learn more. “We started (focusing on driver comfort) about 25 years ago, working with engineers, physiologists, physiotherapists—we want to increase your well being, which is a very multi dimensional concept. It has physical components, mental components, emotional components,” Renner explains. “We’re integrating the experience in the ecosystem we call Mercedes Me. Outside of the car you can improve your fitness and health with tutorials and coaching recommendations.” The Mercedes Me portal site offers a “Complete Fit & Healthy Check” to get you started; the thorough quiz provides insights into your overall wellness and fitness. Once you’ve completed the survey it continues to provide “Fit & Healthy Tips”—recommendations for how to improve your physical and mental state. A third component, the “Fit & Healthy Coach,” provides recommendations for additional health and wellness apps.
The Vitality Coach will monitor your pulse, either by syncing to your Mercedes Me profile and your connected fitness tracker or by placing your hands on the steering wheel’s metal trim, identifying your physiological state—sleepy in the morning? Stressed after work?—and with the touch of a button on the digital display activates one of the system’s programs that automatically activates a range of settings on the cars systems to help address the issue.
For example, if the Vitality Coach algorithm senses that you are a bit sluggish it will suggest the “Energize” program, simultaneously modifying the settings on several of the car’s systems at the touch of a button and going through a program designed to perk you up. The entertainment system comes alive with animations and an enthusiastic soundtrack, interior LED lights change color, bursts of cool air pulse through the vents, your seat comes to life with pulses of massage and the aroma is enhanced by bursts of fragrance, all in a synchronous ballet. You can feel deep vibrations from the car’s subwoofers, which energize you just as they do on the dance floor. The program lasts a few minutes and can be enjoyed while parked or driving.
Of course you have always been able to change settings for these systems, but few of us would take notice of our mood and then go into several different systems and select different settings—typically we’d just change the music, or maybe the temperature. To our earlier point, Mercedes-Benz is great at identifying needs and finding clever solutions. Vitality Coach programs are simply software that tell the car’s many different systems how to behave to help you achieve a certain physiological state—and we love the ingenuity behind finding ways to leverage the car’s existing systems to do so. Renner says “It’s about how are we going to live in the future. Connecting everything, providing this with artificial intelligence to bring the human being to an optimal state while in the car or outside the car.” Watch the video to learn more about Fit and Healthy and the Vitality Coach.
Images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz