iPhone app for Smart with onboard maps and traffic sign recognition

smart is the first car brand to develop its own drive app for the iPhone. Together with the vehicle-specific smart cradle for the iPhone the popular phone becomes a multimedia trip computer that is optimised for the smart fortwo in terms of function and design.

The solution consists of two elements:

The smart cradle for the iPhone with control unit and microphone charges the iPhone and also functions as a hands-free system using the loudspeakers of the smart radio for sound output and automatically muting it when phone calls are made.

The smart drive app for the iPhone combines all the features needed on the road in a single app. All the functions are extremely easy to use thanks to extra-large buttons and extra-large letters.

Features:

Media – Via an integrated web radio function users can listen to your favourite foreign radio stations and podcasts whenever they want. The song ID function of the app enables users to obtain information online about titles and singers of songs that are being played on the radio or on web radio.

Phone – The hands-free system and all important functions needed to make phone calls are automatically available as soon as the iPhone is put in the smart cradle. Keypad, contacts, favourites, call lists and other telephony functions are clearly arranged for simple in-car use.

Maps – The basic version of the app shows the vehicle’s position on a map of the area (“Follow-me maps”) and enables points of interest to be found by using the on-board database or off-board via Microsoft Bing.

The navigation upgrade is a highlight and turns the iPhone into a full navigation system with maps for Europe or the USA – enabling navigation without being online. Street names are not only shown but also read aloud. In addition, traffic information can be called up in realtime so that users know where traffic jams are.

Assist – With the Car Finder feature, the iPhone will automatically remember where users parked their cars when it is removed from the cradle and it will find the way back. The app from smart also uses the GPS function of the iPhone for a further service. Should roadside assistance ever be needed, the driver can give his or her precise position via a direct line to the smart hotline.

Traffic sign recognition

The researchers at Daimler AG are currently working on developing inno-vative driver assistance systems for users of the smart drive kit for the iPhone. A camera fitted on the windscreen is needed as an additional element to transmit pictures of the area in front of the car to the smart drive kit for the iPhone via WLAN.

This will enable the future application to identify traffic signs with speed limits, for example, and to warn the driver if he or she is driving too fast. In future smart drive will be both an infotainment and a driver assistance system.

Availability and cost

The smart drive kit for the iPhone will be available from the second quarter of 2010. The smart cradle for the iPhone will be available from smart dealers at a price of €240 (German list price with VAT plus fitting costs).

The smart drive app for the iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store at a one-off price of €9.99 for the basic version. The navigation upgrade with up-to-date maps costs €49.99 per year.

Daimler researchers are currently putting the final touches to the smart drive kit camera functions.

Source: Daimler.

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