Newly opened, Mercedes' latest Silicon Valley facility aims to expand the automaker's research and development capabilities. The choice of location is further evidence of the convergence of automobiles and consumer technology--but there's much more to the research center than in-car infotainment.
One of its key aims is the development of adaptive driving systems and eventually, autonomous vehicle technology. Self-driving vehicles are currently a hot topic in the automotive world and Mercedes itself is near the front of such developments, with its S-Class luxury car frequently leading the way when high-tech driving aids hit the market. Fuel cell and electric vehicles, too, are technologies Mercedes will look into, while a Society & Technology Research Group based at the site will examine societal trends in the U.S--allowing Mercedes to keep one step ahead of the market curve.
Of course, infotainment will still be a part of the company's research and development plans. Mercedes says its premium infotainment and telematics systems will enable customers to "continue their digital lifestyle in their vehicles". Seamless integration with regular consumer technology is a priority--so your Android or iPhone device will always hook up without an issue--and a holistic approach to the user experience should make interaction with your vehicle as seamless and simple as possible.
For the staff, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the experience will be much like other well-known Silicon Valley residents--game rooms, standing desks and juice bars all make an appearance. Initially around 100 people will be employed at the facility, but Mercedes aims to double its resources over the next few years.