Manufacturers have been dabbling with dedicated smartphone docks in cars for a while now, but simply offering a fuss-free way to listen to music via the car head-unit shows a lack of technological ambition — at least judging by Mercedes-Benz’ latest efforts.
The German car manufacturer will unveil its latest in-car ‘infotainment’ system at this month’s Geneva motor show which, in addition to a revamped design, also adds a range of functions built around the iPhone 4S.
Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Kit Plus system works in conjunction with its Digital DriveStyle app to display the contents of the iPhone 4S on the car’s own built-in display.
Better still, the system makes full use of the iPhone 4S’ Siri voice recognition system to offer hands-free control over a range of functions, such as changing radio stations, sending text messages and listening to music.
Mercedes-Benz is also planning on incorporating Siri control into its Garmin satnav system, which means route finding can be handled on the move without having to break the law by fiddling with the smartphone.
However, not only does Siri rely upon a mobile internet connection to respond to spoken commands (which makes it useless in the middle of nowhere), but it also doesn’t currently work with any GPS software. So, it will be interesting to see how Mercedes-Benz gets around these two hurdles.
Mercedes-Benz will reportedly be demonstrating the new COMAND system in its new A-Class, but it has stated that it will also roll out to its B, C and E-Class models later this year.