Thursday, 28 July 2011

Mercedes-Benz extending app selection for COMAND, ready to fight Audi with gesture controls

Mercedes-Benz is in the process of revamping its COMAND infotainment system for the next decade, and as you'd expect, apps, search and advanced navigation is on the way. But it's not just about what's on the screen; it's about how you interact with the system.

In addition to researching 3D displays, Mercedes engineers are looking into expanding voice commands with natural language dictation for emails, text messaging and mobile internet browsing. Drivers would simply ask "What's the weather like in New York City?" and get current conditions, along with a multi-day forecast and be able to do point-of-interest searches through Google. A new user interface – originally shown on theConcept A-Class at this year's Shanghai Motor Show – will incorporate more fluid transitions and user-configurable displays for everything from navigation functionality to climate and media control. And lest Audihave all the fun, Mercedes is looking into handwriting recognition and gesture controls for interior lighting.

On the app front, Mercedes will be integrating Twitter and Facebook into COMAND this fall, along with Stitcher radio and Pandora. Even better, the system will begin incorporating Google's StreetView technology and Panoramio so drivers can see exactly what their destination looks like before they arrive. The new COMAND functionality is due to arrive on European SLK, C-Class, E-Class, CLS, M-Class and the new B-Class by the end of the year and should make it to the States in early 2012.

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