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Mercedes-Benz reveals 'fully connected' Sprinter

Daimler spent $3 billion to spearhead a transition to advanced connectivity and automation in the commercial van segment.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has revealed the third-generation Sprinter, billed as the world's first "fully connected" van.

The redesigned model required more than $3 billion in development funding. The big bet reflects Daimler's intention to mature from a mere van supplier to a more profitable long-term business model centered around connectivity services.

The current Sprinter has been on the market since 2006, serving a wide range of purposes from package delivery to mobile executive offices. Mercedes promises to engage an even wider range of potential applications with the new model, offering 1,700 variations combining different body types, drive systems, cab designs, payloads and other equipment.

The Mercedes Benz Camper App serves as an example of Daimler's connectivity vision. The platform enables 'smart camper' functions via a central interface module in the van and remote monitoring or control through a smartphone.

"This will enable for example the heating to be switched on in advance after a day on the ski slopes, so that the camper van can welcome the family with pleasant temperatures," the company says.

The interior has been revamped to further improve comfort and usability for drivers that spend all day in their Sprinter. The van is among the first vehicles to receive the new MBUX infotainment system with AI-powered features that learn driver preferences and habits.

Traditional gasoline and diesel powertrains have been revamped and an electrified eSprinter will arrive on the market in 2019.

The first deliveries will begin in Europe starting in June.

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