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Motor enthusiasts don’t usually have much of a reason to get excited about Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. However, the company’s announcement this year that it was working with car manufacturers, including Mercedes, to integrate Siri into the driving experience has managed to raise a few eyebrows. But will voice activated technology revolutionise the driving experience or just prove to be a gimmicky distraction?

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Distraction-free motoring

So how will it work? The plan is to have a dedicated button on a Mercedes steering wheel that can activate Siri if you have a connected and compatible iPhone. Apple isn’t just settling on the system being hands-free – it also wants it to be ‘Eyes Free’. As you just use your voice you won’t have to look or touch, and when you activate Siri while driving the device screen won’t turn on, helping to completely eliminate distractions.

Improving on Mercedes’ already impressive safety record

Mercedes is well-known for its safety innovations so it’s no surprise the brand is keen to enable Siri integration as it could prove to be another step towards a safer driving experience. Not having to distract your hands – or attention – to select what music you want played or to adjust your destination on a sat nav guide would let you concentrate solely on the road.

Apps you’ll only use in your Mercedes

A future software update will allow Siri to directly launch apps, which could lead to developers creating apps specifically for use while driving. If that were to happen who knows what tools could crop up to help make driving a more enjoyable or safer experience.

It’s possible however that Apple could limit this feature when used while driving, as some people have pointed out that being able to launch apps could actually create more distractions. However, asking Siri to tweet that you were enjoying the coastal scenery from your Mercedes S-Classmodel would be no more distracting than making a hands-free phone call.

Your Mercedes becomes a communication hub

While there are already several methods of making hands-free call while driving, a Siri-integrated Mercedes could make it easier than ever. However, it’s the ability of Siri to both write and read outgoing and incoming text messages that could prove most beneficial. Drivers who break the law and send text have to use both their hands and their eyes – something that the ‘Eyes Free’ nature of Siri would prevent.

A peek at the future of a smarter Mercedes

In its current form the integration of Siri and Mercedes is certainly not reinventing the wheel. However, the possibilities of increased intelligence in cars in the future shouldn’t be underestimated. Mercedes has shown time and time again that it wants to innovate in the automotive industry – its pioneering work with robot cars in the 80s has illustrated this – so it’s no surprise that the oldest car brand still in production is working with Apple to keep ahead of the competition.

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