If you've ever been a passenger on a car journey trying to surf the internet on your mobile, you'll know just how far removed the information highway is from the Queen's Highway. Now the automotive industry are trying to get a grip on the problem. Mercedes-Benz are claiming some degree of success with their web-based infotainment system myCommand. The concept behind the infostation currently being tested in the E-Class is the updating and maintenance of all data and functions via the internet.
In order to increase transmission speeds, the boffins in Stuttgart have got together with their opposite numbers at Nokia to develop fourth-generation radio technology referred to as LTE (Long Term Evolution) and capable of bandwidths of between 5 and 25 Mbps. This would be sufficient for the high-quality streaming of video material. Following extensive trials, the Daimler engineers have now reported excellent progress. At least as far as their remit is concerned: navigation, radio, telephony and additional services all functioned very smoothly. The missing component is Europe-wide availability of LTE, and that could take several years to put in place.