Mercedes Benz today announced the availability of a new display technology that allows driver and passenger to see two totally separate programs from the same screen, at the same time. The equipment will debut on the facelifted S-Class, Mercedes' perennial platform for innovation, in the first half of 2009.

The technology that underpins the Mercedes-Benz Splitview technology has been around for several years now, but practical applications have been lacking until recently. The same basic premise, dubbed 'DualView' was previewed in February by Blaupunkt and Bosch, the system's co-developers.

Pricing for the system has not yet been announced, but the 8in display promises full integration with the COMAND information system as well as offering DVD and TV entertainment to the passenger. At the same time, the driver can use the display for navigation or other information display purposes.

Touchscreen functionality applies only to the driver's view of the screen, however, with the passenger's view controlled by a separate remote. To keep the passenger's entertainment from distracting the driver, the audio output can even be routed through headphones while still allowing regular function of the rest of the car's systems.