Mercedes Developing Google Glass Integration

The 2014 Mercedes S Class is laden with technology, including an award-winning 3-D camera safety system.

The collaboration is a part of a drive to integrate personal electronic devices with a vehicle's infotainment systems.

Mercedes-Benz is packing its newest models to the rocker panels with cutting-edge technologies derived from the military, Silicon Valley and even Hollywood -- the 2014 S-Class combines onboard stereoscopic optical cameras, radars and networked sensors that anticipate collisions, keep the car in its lane and take over from the driver in emergencies. (The International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society will name the 2014 S-Class car of the year at its annual awards ceremony Sept. 18 at Paramount Studios.)

Now, the Stuttgart automaker’s North American research and development center in Palo Alto is collaborating with Google to integrate Google Glass with Mercedes’ in-car navigation systems, Wired reports.

Google Glass is the controversial computer worn like a pair of glasses; images appear on a semi-transparent display built into the frame. It can surf the web, send and receive texts, and take photos or videos through an integrated camera. The device’s photo and video capabilities have raised privacy and piracy concerns and calls for preemptive bans in casinos, bars and movie theaters.

The Google Glass-Mercedes integration allows an address entered into Google Glass to interface with the car’s GPS navigation system to provide directions while driving. When the car is parked and the driver exits, the directions continue on Google Glass and guide the wearer the rest of the way on foot. 

The concept aims to create seamless, door-to-door directions without manually inputting addresses on several devices. Wired road tested a prototype of the system and reported that it worked as advertised.

An app already available for Tesla owners allows Google Glass -- for now in the hands of 2,000 hand-picked early adopters -- to check the all-electric sedan’s charging status, lock and unlock doors, and find it on a map.

Such tight integration between automobiles and smartphones and devices like Google Glass will become more prevalent as consumers increasingly select cars based on their ability to interface with personal electronic devices, says Mark Wakefield, director of automotive practice with AlixPartners, a global consulting firm. “Making it easier to connect the in-car life with the out-of-car life -- anything that makes that more seamless is a huge deal,” Wakefield says. One of the top priorities for automakers today, he says, “is to make as many of those features we’re used to seeing on a mobile device exist in a car. People are actually buying cars based on these capabilities.”

Google Glass is expected to go on sale in 2014.