Mercedes-Benz has revealed its new ‘MBUX’ interior interface at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, introducing a series of new interface solutions - the most unusual of which is the re-invented navigation system.
While entering a destination may have traditionally involved a house number, street, and suburb or a set of GPS coordinates, the future of navigation will give destinations a randomly generated three-word phrase.
Mercedes-Benz will become the the first carmaker to offer “what3words” navigation as a standard feature in new cars. Set to be available in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class and other upcoming models as part of the new MBUX (for Mercedes-Benz user experience) infotainment system.
Traditional address input will remain, but what3words aims to complement conventional mapping and address systems with a quirky arrangement that divides the world in to three-by-three metre grids, each assigned to unique three-word strings that work in 12 languages.
If you were looking for the Melbourne Arts Centre try “life.work.mint”, the steps of the Sydney Opera House become “ladder.voices.boom” and if you’d like to check your reflection in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall balls try “labs.enjoy.item”.
The aim of the new system isn’t to replace the consecutive numbering layout of addresses as we know them, rather it provides an easier to remember format that more easily integrates with MBUX’s new voice input system.
Mercedes-Benz describes the new system as particularly useful for destinations such as public parks, private roads and off-road trails which may not do not feature neatly numbered addresses.
Sajjad Khan, vice president of digital vehicle and mobility for Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, says it gives customers another option on the road.
“With what3words´ easy address entry method, we're adding another logical element to our navigation system,” he says.
“You can enter your destination by speaking just three words and are then guided there to within an accuracy of nine square metres. Anywhere in the world. All I can say is: simple.ingenious.innovative.”
In practice, it’s a little like dropping a “pin” for a friend on Google maps. If you want to give a specific location to a contact, you can send them three words they can open in a smartphone app - or their new Mercedes.
Drivers of the 2018 A-Class (above) will be able to navigate to an icon like the beach at Surfer’s Paradise by saying “Hey Mercedes, take me to what three words: tricks narrow fever” however attempting Mr Khan’s suggested “simple.ingenious.innovative” location will see you dropped in the middle of the South China Sea and might be better to avoid.
Other partners of the new system include the United Nations and Dominos Pizza. If you’d like to find your own favourite locations using what3words visit map.what3words.com.