VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz myCOMAND concept brings internet safely into cars
Mercedes Benz myCOMAND interface
German automakers have gotten plenty of flack for their less than intuitive Navigation/Infotainment systems, but Mercedes Benz is working hard to change that with its myCOMAND concept. The myCOMAND system uses high-speed wireless Internet with upload and download speeds of over 3MB to bring the connectivity of the web into any driver's hands. It's similar to interfaces from the competition in that it gives access to phone info, different types of digital media and the web. The difference comes from Mercedes' decision to go entirely Internet-based. Gone are hard drives, CD/DVD players and most computer hardware. Mercedes stuck with a thin-client and incredibly intuitive graphical user interface coupled with the ubiquitous Mercedes command controller to pull the strings.
We got a chance to sit in a myCOMAND-equipped Mercedes at the LA Auto Show today and were up to speed within seconds. We were able to surf the net (Autoblog was one of the presets, nice), explore Google Maps, check the weather and look for the cheapest gas in the area with minimal effort. The myCOMAND system is a concept right now and Mercedes engineers feel the technology is still a few years from production. It does, however, show the potential of future Infotainment systems, and we like what we see. See how it works by watching our video demonstration of myCOMAND with Mercedes Infotainment and Telematics VP Johann Jungwirth above, and you can view high-res pics of the system from Mercedes in the gallery below. As always, a press release with all the official details is after the jump.
Research project myCOMAND - Revolution on the dashboard: Mercedes-Benz shows new prospects for vehicle infotainment
Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz is offering a glimpse into the future with myCOMAND, an internet-based infotainment system as part of a special preview during the Los Angeles Auto Show. myCOMAND is especially efficient and user-friendly and offers a range of functions unrivalled for variety. Using internet connectivity, all data and information is kept fresh and current at all times without the need for software or hardware updates. All functions are concentrated on one attractively designed user interface for easy and intuitive access. Complete integration, reliable operation and data protection were the highest priorities in the design of myCOMAND.
Mobile phones, laptops and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) afford mobile internet access almost anywhere and at any time. However, security, comfort and network bandwidth issues can present challenges in accessing this wealth of online information while in the car.
Computer science experts expect that in a few years the internet will be available almost everywhere with significantly higher bandwidth via cellular network then today. This opens up new and interesting possibilities for telematics and infotainment applications in automobiles. For this reason, the Stuttgart-based premium manufacturer has launched a research project for a completely new internet-based infotainment system called myCOMAND. With this system, an all new development, Mercedes-Benz demonstrates today what functions drivers can access in future.
In the areas of both information and entertainment, the entirely internet-based solution affords decisive advantages over traditional systems found in today's vehicles. Every time the engine starts myCOMAND automatically updates itself via radio and thus continuously brings the software up to date. All individually retrieved data and information are always up to date, too, and available to the occupants simply and easily. Compared with current mobile terminal devices, but also with the firmly installed systems available today, with myCOMAND the internet not only is much faster, but simultaneously also much more user-friendly and thus more safely and reliably integrated. The system offers the driver individually appropriate internet services depending on the situation.
Diverse personal services and unlimited entertainment
Thanks to the vast variety of information in the internet, the optimum integration and absolute up-to-dateness enable unparalleled functionality. The most important new services of myCOMAND are:
Off-board navigation. It not only always works with the latest map, but also takes the traffic information available on the internet into account for route selection. Along with the conventional map display it is also possible to show satellite images which enable easier orientation. The search for destinations no longer follows a rigid format; free input is permissible. And destinations can be combined with up-to-the-minute data so that the driver easily can find, for example, the cheapest filling station in vicinity or along a route.
Trip Assist.This service automatically accesses the large amount of information available on the internet and presents it to the driver in optimally edited form at the right time. This way the system can offer much up-to-date information and services in the car. The Trip Assist of myCOMAND shows, for example, the weather along the route and informs the user about the hotels and leisure facilities at the destination. Making hotel reservations from the car is no problem for the Trip Assist; reserving a table at a restaurant or theater tickets at short notice likewise is a simple, stress-free process.
World Radio.Via internet you can tune in practically every radio station in the world – while traveling in your car you can even get radio stations from the other side of the world. With the World Radio of myCOMAND the driver can search for stations by genre to find the ones that cater to his or her individual music taste. Additionally, you can store your personal music library on the internet, which is then available anytime worldwide in the car.
Internet telephony: With myCOMAND the telephone, like all other services, also can utilize the advantages of the internet. Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), myCOMAND enables putting calls through free of charge or sending short messages via internet and simultaneously transmitting voice and data.
Of course, a browser additionally allows you to surf the internet in the accustomed way.
myCOMAND is programmed so that it automatically collects from the internet all information necessary for a service – be it hotel descriptions, weather forecasts or the details of available parking spaces – and puts it together to provide the desired service. There is no complicated searching via browser. This greatly speeds up access to data.
Attractive looks, intuitive operation
myCOMAND not only offers many new options, but is attractively designed for intuitive operation. The centrally arranged display has a brilliant resolution that is optimally positioned in the driver's field of vision so that he or she can better keep an eye on the current traffic situation. The COMAND controller -- an ergonomically optimized rotary pushbutton on the center consol -- enables simple, accurate operation.
The Home screen shows a stylized globe. All selectable functions revolve around it, moved by turning the rotary pushbutton; with a push you select the menu item in the foreground. This opens a new menu with more items for selection. The design of the menu, circling a symbolic globe, is not merely an optical highlight; it greatly simplifies operation in conjunction with the rotary pushbutton and its synchronized motion.
By means of two buttons next to the central control, additional functions such as the menu options can be called up. Also, the "back" button enables quickly correcting any wrong entries. Connection with LINGUATRONIC in future will enable operating myCOMAND also by voice.
myCOMAND lays the foundation for optimal use of the internet in the car. The Mercedes-Benz researchers expect that it will take a few more years until the technical prerequisites have been created and such a system is available in production cars.