Driv­ing changes for technology

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

HIGH-SPEED mo­bile con­nec­tiv­ity is be­ing taken to a new level with BMW and MercedesBe­nz to sell iPad dock­ing sta­tions for their ve­hi­cles later this year.

The op­tional fea­ture is part of the lux­ury car­mak­ers’ push to trans­form the car from a 20th cen­tury mo­bile of­fice into a 21st cen­tury com­mu­ni­ca­tions hub.

The iPad brack­ets will be mounted on the back of the front seats, giv­ing rear seat pas­sen­gers in­stant ac­cess to all the func­tions of the tablet PC, from watch­ing movies and read­ing the lat­est edi­tion of The Courier-Mail to brows­ing the in­ter­net. Mercedes-Benz spokesman Jerry Sta­moulis says the need to match cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions for in­te­grated dig­i­tal de­vices out­weighs the risk the com­pany may cost it­self in sales of its own back seat DVD screens.

‘‘The hi-tech fea­tures of Mercedes-Benz goes be­yond the car it­self. These days it’s about the ease of con­nect­ing to mo­bile de­vices and en­sur­ing our cus­tomers’ have the tools they need, be it for busi­ness or plea­sure,’’ he says.

The iPad brack­ets tilt and ro­tate 90 de­grees to match the screen as­pect to what­ever ap­pli- cation is run­ning. Power is pro­vided by the ve­hi­cle’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem and ex­tended in­ter­net ac­cess comes from the car’s wi-fi hotspot.

That same wi-fi con­nec­tion can be used for voice and data trans­mis­sion us­ing a Black­berry, iPhone and sim­i­lar mo­bile de­vices with higher trans­fer rates than the reg­u­lar Blue­tooth con­nec­tion.

Mercedes says the iPad dock­ing sta­tion frame and seat at­tach­ment have been de­signed and tested to meet the com­pany’s safety stan­dards

The frame of the dock­ing sta­tion, along with the at­tach- ment to the seat struc­ture, have also been de­signed and ver­i­fied in line with the high safety stan­dards ap­plied at MercedesBe­nz.

An added safety ben­e­fit is the fact the iPad is an­chored in the dock­ing sta­tion - un­like a de­vice held in the hand or sat on the seat - and in the event of an ac­ci­dent can­not fly un­con­trolled through the ve­hi­cle, po­ten­tially caus­ing in­jury.

The iPad is al­ready in use as a pre­sen­ta­tion tool at a num­ber of car deal­er­ships, giv­ing sales staff ac­cess to the range of ve­hi­cle brochures, ac­ces­sories lists and pric­ing de­tails on any given model.

Car­mak­ers such as Audi are also cre­at­ing ap­pli­ca­tions to let iPad own­ers browse the cor­po­rate web­sites or be sent de­tails of the lat­est mod­els they may have an in­ter­est in.

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