It may just be a matter of time before all data is stored in the cloud, and when that time comes, Mercedes-Benz's next-generation platform will be there waiting.
Mercedes-Benz revealed the futuristic @yourComand infotainment platform in its F 125 fuel-cell research vehicle. The new system takes the current COMAND Online system to the next level. It can be controlled by voice-commands, a touch pad, or hand-gestures, and can access any type of media stored in the cloud.
Unlike systems that rely on the users' smartphone data connection, @yourComand has a permanent "always on" cloud connection. And rather than sit in the center of the dashboard, the new infotainment system display is contoured around the driver's cockpit. The screen is tailored to the driver's preferred viewing habits, and also provides a 3D representation of the instrument cluster.
The system is controlled either by voice commands or a touch pad to cycle through the various functions, including social media, news, entertainment, and navigation selections. For rear entertainment, a separate 17-inch retractable screen launches from the passenger side and is controlled by either hand-gestures or voice commands.
The F 125's infotainment system isn't limited to the car. The driver can configure the system from a computer or mobile device, and access information such as fuel levels, fuel economy, and maintenance schedules remotely.
Despite its lengthy track record of automotive and safety technologies, Mercedes-Benz is a little behind-the-curve when it comes to integrating smartphones with its vehicles. Even its class-competitor BMW, which was famously reluctant to add cup holders in its cars, bit the bullet and added e-mail, social media, and Internet radio connectivity. Now @yourComand shows that Mercedes-Benz is serious about changing its stodgy ways.
The upcoming iPhone-centric infotainment system, MirrorLink, and Near Field Communications integrations are stepping stones that will enable Mercedes to implement some aspects of @yourComand in its production vehicles in the future, according to Mercedes.
The auto manufacturer released a video interview of Ralf Lamberti, the director of Mercedes telematics, showing off the F 125's infotainment platform concept. Although the interview is in German, the close-ups and tour of the F 125 interior are informative even if you don't speak the language.