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Mercedes digs into Silicon Valley for a tech-filled future

November 20, 2013

Just prior to this year's Los Angeles auto show, Mercedes inaugurated their new North American research and development center in Sunnyvale, Calif. Go ahead and assume that this new glitzy center's priorities are to help out with interior and exterior design solutions, but also to brainstorm smartphone and tablet integration — and change your relationship with your car.

Herbert Kohler, Daimler's head of e-drive and future mobility strategies, says the automaker is working with perhaps a total of 100 companies around Silicon Valley, from Google to start-ups, on seamless cross-platform and onboard apps solutions for future mobility.

The best news out of this being that from now on Daimler's research and development in this genre will always develop for both Apple iOS and Google Android systems, even though - they stressed - the iPhone remains the most widely used single-unit dedicated platform on the market. Nonetheless, more is more, and Android proliferation wins hands down.

Regarding the current inability of the COMAND dashboard systems to work with iPhone5, Kohler and his team assured that in December the entire range of cars available with COMAND Online features would be iPhone 5/5S/5C compatible thanks to an in-house engineered upgrade kit. Along these iOS/Android lines of argument, Daimler announced the Android version of the company's Digital Drive Style app for maximum fuel efficiency depending on the route mapped will arrive in 2014.

To help Mercedes buyers deal with all of this Silicon Valley innovation, Kohler also shared that Mercedes-Benz will develop a help desk for owners who get lost in the menus and functionality of future ambitious COMAND Online software versions. This will be available from the A-class through the S-class, but is most likely to be rolled out starting with the new S-class coupe in latter 2014.