For the F 700 the Mercedes-Benz engineers have developed an entirely new display concept and further developed the proven COMAND control concept, incorporating a whole range of pioneering innovations. These include:
SERVO-HMI, which reduces eye fatigue by increasing the viewing distance.
Speech recognition via a virtual operating assistant (AVATAR) to facilitate the control of complex functions using spoken dialogue.
Reduced control functions through increased automation.
Rotary/pushbutton controller with added slide function.
Entertainment system with Roadview and three-dimensional cinema.
The research engineers developed SERVO-HMI to improve physiological safety. The driving and vehicle information displayed by the system appears at the lower edge of the windscreen, but seems to be further away from the driver.
As a result, the driver’s eyes no longer tire from the constant shifting of focus from near vision to far vision as they do in a conventional cockpit.
The navigation, communication, phone and audio/entertainment systems are operated by means of a rotary/pushbutton control on the centre console. A pleasant climate is crucial for comfort. The inconspicuous and draft-free automatic climate control system is operated by means of a separate rotary/pushbutton on the centre console.
The control panel automatically recognises whether it is being operated by the driver or passenger, and correspondingly activates the desired functions on the left or righthand side. For more complex input functions, innovative support is provided by an individual assistant, known as AVATAR in computer language. In the F 700, the AVATAR has the identity of a young woman. She engages in dialogue with the driver, asking for the destination in the navigation menu, for instance, and confirming the voice input. Looking for numbers in the telephone directory and tuning the desired radio station operate in much the same way.
This form of dialogue simplifies voice control for the driver and improves the speech recognition by the system. What’s more, the scope of dialogue assistance functions can be expanded almost infinitely. The AVATAR may for instance serve as a virtual assistant and access online databases via an internet link on board the car, make new entries in the driver’s appointment calendar or read out important emails. Through dialogue-controlled operation, distractions are reduced to a minimum – safety is, after all, writ large at Mercedes-Benz at all times