What is Mercedes Pro Connect?

  • Everything you need to know about Mercedes Pro Connect
  • Which vehicles it fits on and how it benefits fleets and drivers
  • Latest features and updates covered in detail

Mercedes Pro Connect is a digital connectivity system that comes built-in to Mercedes-Benz vans, allowing you to remotely access all kinds of information about your van - and even check its location and whether it's locked - via fleet management software or a smartphone.

Here we delve into what Mercedes Pro Connect does and how it can help you - whether you're a vast fleet or a small business.

Why fleet management is important

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes at a van fleet to ensure that - for example - the millions of parcels delivered every day get to where they are supposed to go.

As a result, the modern fleet manager has a lot to factor in. But there are a number of tools to help them do their job these days, with connected technology letting them know where a van is, what it is carrying and where it is due next.

You can go to a specialist company for this sort of technical assistance, but an increasing number of van manufacturers are offering it under their own branding now, including Mercedes-Benz. Which is where Mercedes Pro Connect comes in.

You can get this factory-fitted on the latest Sprinter and Vito models, or you can retro-fit it on a selection of older Mercedes-Benz vans.

What does Mercedes Pro Connect do?

Pro Connect is Mercedes’ own branding for telematics. This in itself is a technical term for vehicle tracking. It works on the same principle as the ‘black box’ technology that some insurance companies use to keep an eye on a car so they can then reward (or punish) drivers for how well they drive.

By keeping an eye on where all their vans are, a fleet manager sat back at base can then make decisions about which one is best placed to make a pickup.

Mercedes PRO Connect delivery

The technology can do so much more than that, though. It can also keep the fleet manager informed on the state of the van, feeding back information on the condition of the brake pads and the level of the coolant, for instance, and of course how much fuel is in the tank.

It also claims to offer up-to-date traffic information, which can then be used to plan the most efficient route for a van out on a job.

Rather than putting all of the tech onto every one of its vans and upping the price, Mercedes has created a selection of packages that each cater to different needs.

Mercedes PRO Connect desktop

More services are being brought online or added as time goes by, and in January 2020 Mercedes announced that it over 9,500 of the latest generation Sprinter connected via the system.

It is also fitted as standard to the Mercedes eVito electric van.

How is Mercedes Pro Connect controlled?

The fleet manager gets a computer-based dashboard called the Vehicle Management Tool while drivers get access to a smartphone app that allows them to send and receive data depending on which package they are signed-up for.

What packages are there available on Mercedes Pro Connect?

The highlights are as follows:

Optimised Assistance

Helps to stay on top of regular repair requirements and helps out in the case of an emergency. Services offered include:

  • Can send a notification when a service is due and provide information on the consumable parts on the Sprinter, e.g. when the brake linings are worn or if the coolant is low.
  • Can provide an automatic (no obligation) quote from a preferred local service partner
  • Sends data over to the garage ahead of service
  • Connects to an emergency call line in the case of a breakdown or accident, accessed through a button in the overhead control panel
  • Sends location and vehicle data to the recovery vehicle
  • Uses sensors to detect when the van has been in a crash and contacts the emergency services automatically. It sends over the vehicle location to enable rescuers to find the crash site quickly and easily
  • Sends over the air updates so the vehicle is always running the latest version of the necessary software

Digital Drivers' Log (added January 2020)

  • Records time, date, location and odometer reading at the start and end of every trip made
  • Allows the fleet manager to see which driver has made the trip
  • Driver can categorise the purpose of the trip and say whether it is for business or personal reasons
  • Creates a signed PDF for tax declaration purposes that differentiates personal and business trips

Efficient Fleet Management

Allows the fleet manager to see where vehicles are and what they are doing, so they can plan what they do next.

  • Provides details on information such as the fuel level, range, mileage, AdBlue status and tyre pressures
  • Gathers all information in the management tool
  • Shows where all the vehicles are
  • Can create a virtual fence, or geofence, so the manager gets an alert if the vehicle leaves a certain area
  • Sends an alert if the vehicle is suspected as stolen

Efficient Driving Style Analysis

Quite simply, this uses the various sensors on the van to assess a driver’s driving style and sends reports on how economical it is.

Simplified Fleet Communication

  • This lets the fleet manager use the Vehicle Management Tool to send information directly to the driver’s device, updating them on work that needs doing
  • The van also features its own wifi hotspot, so the driver can connect devices to the internet

Improved Navigation

  • Uses real-time traffic data to help plot the quickest route for a journey
  • Is capable of sending other vehicles information on road conditions – for example if the ESP anti-skid control kicks in on one van it can potentially pre-warn others that the road ahead is slippery
  • Automatically downloads updates for the navigation maps
  • Can display information such as local fuel prices, the weather conditions and availability of local parking facilities
  • Allows a manager to send a precise address straight to the vehicle’s navigation system remotely
  • Has voice control for various online systems

Remote Access (added January 2020)

This allows any driver assigned to a particular van to lock or unlock the vehicle, check whether the windows are closed or turn on the heating, all remotely.

The idea here is obviously improved security, but it also means that you can grant access to a vehicle even if you're nowhere near it - perhaps so someone can load it with goods, or because the actual keys have been locked inside it.

Data Interfaces Mercedes-Benz Vans

Enables all the data produced by the Mercedes Pro Connect to be integrated into an outside, third-party vehicle management system

Which Mercedes vehicles are available with Pro Connect?

Pro Connect was launched with the latest generation of Sprinter in 2018, and this was initially the only model that could have it fully installed as a factory option. In 2019 this was also made possible on the Vito. Whether it will be offered on the smaller Citan still remains to be seen.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Vito - available with Pro Connect

As with any feature on a vehicle, this will be driven by demand.

The good news is that you don’t need to go out and buy a brand new Sprinter if you want to up your connectivity courtesy of Mercedes.

An adaptor can be retro-fitted to the previous generation of Sprinter (made from April 2006) and the last two versions of the Vito, made from November 2010 and October 2014. It is a small module that plugs into the on-board diagnostic (OBD) port in the van.

Mercedes PRO Connect plugin

You don’t get the full set of services with this adaptor, but it's certainly better than nothing.

Also read:

>> Mercedes-Benz Sprinter full review

>> Mercedes-Benz Vito full review

>> Everything you need to know about electric vans