Factory navigation systems might be a popular option on high-end vehicles, but there's no denying that their astronomical price tag and lack of upgrades make them pale in comparison to aftermarket units available at a fraction of the cost. Automakers contend that the integration with the vehicle's systems and the lack of unsightly cords are worth it, but when you consider that the technology was locked in three years ago, the choice is clear. Time to go to Best Buy.

Thankfully, Mercedes-Benz and Harman International have recognized the problem and are working on a two-piece solution to solve it. The modular system consists of a screen and a separate control unit mounted in the dash, allowing the system to be upgraded quickly and, more importantly, cheaply. The hidden "processing box" will handle all the heavy lifting, including the GPS, music storage and Bluetooth integration.

If the collaboration works, expect the modular sat-nav systems to be available in the second half of 2010 on eight Mercedes-Benz models.

[Source: Twice via Gearlog via Engadget]

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