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Mercedes-Benz taps Google Glass for door-to-door navigation

August 23, 2013


German automaker Mercedes-Benz is looking to stay ahead of its competitors by fine-tuning a Google Glass door-to-door navigation system that will likely pique the interest of technology enthusiasts.

The automaker's quest to create an operational Google Glass navigation program may encounter obstacles, but the innovative bent of the project demonstrates the brand's forward-looking objectives. Reliance on GPS navigation is second-nature for drivers today, so searching for ways to enhance this technology will likely appeal to huge swaths of consumers.

"The idea for a door-to-door directions app for Google Glass is interesting and potentially convenient for some consumers," said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

"The door-to-door technology needs to have a an easy to use interface so that it's seamless to move between the the driving directions and the walking directions," he said.

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Mercedes-Benz, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Mercedez-Benz did not respond by press deadline.

Never a wrong step

The door-to-door navigation system aims to guide Google Glass enabled Mercedes drivers from the door of their home to the door of their destination. 

In order to do this, Google Glass synchronizes with the vehicle's in-car navigation system and the user's mobile phone. An address is put into Google Glass at home and Google Maps is used to provide initial navigation.

Video still via Mashable

Google Glass communicates with the user's phone and defers to the in-car navigation system when in motion, which will likely project standard GPS directions through the lens.

Once the user exits the vehicle, Google Glass will then steer the user to the destination.

Video still via Mashable

The current prototype only works with the iPhone, but Mercedes expects to open it up to Android phones by 2014, Mashable reports. It is still unknown whether such a program will be legally permitted by the time Google Glass becomes available. 

Google Glass is expected to be widely available in 2014, giving Mercedes-Benz plenty of time to fix glitches and refine faults in its nascent program.

Mashable provides an explanatory video at

Glass for Gen Y

Mercedes-Benz has innovated with popular technologies before. 

For instance, Mercedes-Benz USA invited five of Instagram’s most lauded users to ignite interest in the CLA model among young consumers by touring the United States in the vehicle.

The automaker is opening up the journey to a sixth entrant who will be selected by the five recognized photographers to boost fan interest in the promotions. The contest likely appealed to Generation Y consumers through using Instagram and allowing fans to participate in the campaign (see story).

Also, Mercedes’ Instagram contest comes as a part of its larger CLA campaign to target a younger demographic.

For this project, Mercedes is working with filmmaker Casey Neistat to create a commercial that will resonate with Generation Y (see story).

However, Google Glass represents uncharted territory, making all current endeavors to leverage its navigation potential fraught with unforeseen complications.

"If the app is not easy to use then it will be more trouble than its worth and easier to simply use GPS or a smartphone in the vehicle and smartphone outside the vehicle," Mr. Buckingham said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York