Daimler spreads out its concept map at CES

Sunnyvale
37° 22' 18.192" N, -122° 2' 16.836" E
05th Jan 2017
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HERE partner and co-owner Daimler is to bring some of its own fresh thinking about in-car navigation to the HERE stand at CES. The newest Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ is a vehicle that serves as a showcase for some of Daimler’s brightest ideas about the future of personal transportation.

Lovingly constructed using aluminium, steel and carbon fibre, this high-powered electric vehicle boasts a host of innovations. To give one taste, it doesn’t have any wing mirrors – the output from hidden cameras is projected onto the internal screens instead. But what excites HERE most is the dashboard, which has also been installed into a separate kiosk at the CES stand for easier viewing. The car boasts a totally new map based on HERE data and created with the help of their engineers.

We have created a new type of 3D city view for the in-dash display. Historically, these have been line-drawn, with a very simple representation of buildings, if at all. We wanted to reach a new level of quality in the way we rendered the city.

True to the HERE vision of ‘whichever map you need, whenever you need it’, the broad, 24-inch, in-dash navigation fitted inside the Concept EQ is capable of customising itself dynamically depending on what the driver is doing.

If you’re driving to a destination and need to check your directions at a glance, then the map is that typical, pared-down navigation view with a brightly lit line showing your way. But when you stop and start to look around you using the map, then you enter ‘explore mode’: the buildings are filled in with a polished 3D render and much more detail than drivers will be used to. There is much more to the geometry than is ever shown elsewhere. Though we keep it very clean at the same time – we don’t show trees, for example. Then, when you use the built-in controls to start looking for shops, restaurants or other PoIs, the other buildings elegantly fade into the background to draw attention to the locations within your chosen search category.

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Daimler was also able to add custom details to the map display. EV charging stations and induction-charging opportunities are shown, and there’s a special graph to visualise the available charge and likely-charge-used for the current journey. There’s no particular need for ‘range anxiety’, though, the Concept EQ has a fully-charged range of 500 kilometres (311 miles).

The navigation integration goes further than the human driver, too. High-definition map data from HERE feeds into the car’s ADAS functions as well as the dashboard. It knows, for example, the exact radius and curvature of a roundabout, so that the car can position itself and adjust its speed for the smoothest, safest ride possible.

It’s an impressive vision. We started working with the HERE team on creating a new vision for in-dash navigation almost two years ago. But they’d been working on it a lot longer than that before we got involved. The dash on the Concept EQ is actually a snapshot of work-in-progress, rather than a finished piece.

And as befits a concept product, its purpose is as much to start a conversation, as it is to offer a solution. We’ll be really interested to hear people’s reactions – whether they think this would help them, and whether they say it should appear in production vehicles at some point.

If you’re in Vegas for CES 2017, do drop into the HERE stand at Central Plaza, #CP-2, especially on the first day of the show when you can take a close look at the car. We’ll be interested to hear your reactions in the comments below, too.

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