Just because you're on the road, that doesn't mean you can't take your connected home with you.
That's essentially the sales pitch from German auto-maker Mercedes-Benz for its new Marco Polo camper van, which includes several smart features that can be controlled via a smartphone app.
The van, which Mercedes describes as a "smart home on wheels" has a retractable roof, with extra sleeping space for two people, that users can expand or retract remotely using just their smartphones.
The Marco Polo van, which starts at a base price of roughly $69,000, will be equipped with the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Control (MBAC) interface system starting in Spring 2020. The system includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen dashboard display to control the van's smart functions, but those features can also be controlled via an MBAC smartphone app.
In addition to operating the retractable roof, the app will be able to control the van's heating and cooling systems, open and close the sliding sunroof, control the sound system and adjust interior lighting.
The van fits two double beds, with one in the extended roof area (which is over four feet in width) and another that stretches over the rear bench seats, which fold down flat and are available in Lugano leather. The van's two front seats (including the driver's seat) both rotate and can turn around to face the rear passengers when the van is stationary.
There's a fold-out table to create a dining area between the front and rear seats. The interior even has a kitchenette with two gas burners, a 40-liter refrigerator and a sink connected to a 38-liter water tank.
On the road, the van features a turbodiesel engine with top speeds of roughly 124 MPH, Mercedes parent Daimler said in a press release.
Mercedes is not the only auto manufacturer embracing connected technology, as more and more automakers look to allow drivers to bring the same technology they use in their homes along with them on the road.
For instance, in March 2019, Hyundai Motor Group introduced a digital key that allows drivers to unlock and start their cars using a smartphone app. And Tesla drivers have access to a smartphone app that can use the "Enhanced Summon" feature that remotely calls their car to drive itself to them through a parking lot. The Tesla app also gives Tesla owners access to various forms of in-car entertainment, including karaoke and Netflix.
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