Mercedes-Benz is a German global automobile marque and a division of Daimler AG. The brand is known for luxury vehicles, buses, coaches, and trucks. The headquarters is in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg. The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz. In 2018, Mercedes-Benz was the biggest selling premium vehicle brand in the world, having sold 2.31 million passenger cars.
The era of smart keys is coming. In my opinion within a next couple of years digital type of key should hit a market. Nowdays owners of vehicles have limited functionality on their palms in form of regular old-fashioned type of remote key. Owners wish to have more expanded set of features which can help them to get better experience in driver to vehicle and vise versa relationships.
Time has come. It is 2019 now and I decided to present a digital solution to motorvehicle market which can change all this situation and make all things faster, better and more intuitive.
The main goal is to create a software for a new generation of smart vehicle key for Mercedes Benz owners. Basically my intention is to transform regular car management app into something new a more useful and put it in form factor of average key fob. At the end of the day my goal will be to reach next enhancements:
- Easy access to your vehicle.
- Ability to check all your vehicle's stats.
- Mercedes Benz feel and look that will match brand identity.
- Intuitive access to main features that driver needs every day.
I started my research with competitor analysis. Nowdays there are only 2 competitors out there that have kind of similar digital products. It's known names like Tesla motors and BMW. I did a feature comparison of these 2 brands and consolidate it in my feature comparison table:
I conducted 9 interviews with Tesla and BMW owners to validate usably of all these features and I found out that a couple of them is't so useful at all. Also I spoke to 4 Mercedes owners about their interaction with a car. I asked them what they do every day before driving and how is their customer journey looks like at the moment. Based on interviews and feature analysis I came up with really nice UX tool like "Moscow method". This tool helps you to prioritize features of the product in terms of: Must have, Should have, Could have and Won't have. Here is a result:
During my Design Process I found out that not all features that can seem "cool" users actually want to have in their key fob. Users priority was to have simple and easy to use tool in their hands that can provide set of most common and useful functions. So my goal was to not get crazy in terms of features and build some limited set of features that will serve user's needs in a timely manner.
Main challenge in design was display size limitations, since we need to display a lot of content within such a small space like key fob. My decision was to use slidable widgets that cab hold all necessary data. These widgets will serve us like regular app pages. Every single widget will have detail page where user can perform this or that action related to chosen widget. Following this pattern we will simplify all navigation and user can easily get back to home page with just a press of single button "back".
Let's summarize what user will be capable to do with a new smart key:
- User will be able to remote start a vehicle with just one swipe and one press on a screen. I designed easy accessible drawer that opens up with single swipe down where user can find "Engine Start/Stop button". Now Mercedes Benz owners can remote start their cars from any part of the world since every key fob will have 4G chip inside that takes care of internet connection with your car on a go. Users should not be worry about security because car will remain locked even after start.
- Mercedes Benz owners now can easily find their car in a huge parking lot with a help of our new feature "Find my Car". Once the button is pressed key sends a signal to a vehicle and makes it to initiate a sound or melody along with "lights play". User can choose one out of 15 different pre-sets of sounds and light performances.
- Users can check a remaining fuel level and mile range in their vehicles.
- Vehicle owners can set departure times and system will cool down or heat up your car right before you get in. If driver has repetitive schedule every day, he/she can set it up as reoccurring departure.
- From now on Mercedes Benz drivers will have his/her personal voice assistant that will help them to perform everyday actions with just a simple voice command. Your new assistant name is "Star". How cool is that? Now you can click voice activation button on a key fob and say: "Hey Star, cool down my car to 74 degree". Also you can just say: " Hey Star. I'm coming" and our client system will prepare everything in a car based on pre-set parameters.
- Mercedes owners will have option to see and check doors, windows and lights statuses.
- Stuck in parking lot? Can't get in your car because of huge pickup truck parked on a side of your car?. Not a problem. A new remote parking feature will fix it. Simply assess your Remote Parking widget and pull your car forward with a help of your finger.
- Drivers will be able to receive alert notifications about their car right on a key fob.
- "Smart Lock" feature will help drivers to unlock/lock and start/stop the vehicle with just walking towards it and reaching previously set distance. Users can fine tune and set a range/action combinations that is most suitable for them right in a smart key settings.