Mar 13, 2014
The touchpad in the new C-Class developed by Mercedes-Benz marks an evolutionary step. As on a smartphone, all the head-unit functions can be operated using finger gestures.
The 65 x 45 millimetre control surface of the new touchpad made out of scratch-resistant material is built into the handrest on the central control panel and bordered by a high-quality metal support – a design feature with a high-tech feel which exudes luxury at the same time.
While other solutions with a touch-sensitive surface only support selected operating steps, the driver and front passenger can use the touchpad in the new C-Class to control all the functions in the central infotainment control panel using the kind of single and multi-touch finger gestures familiar from smartphones and tablet PCs. Slow and fast gestures are possible. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting - in any language supported by Audio 20 or COMAND Online. The user receives clear tactile feedback when operating the touchpad control surface. Characters entered using the handwriting function can also be read aloud by the system, thus supporting blind operation. The acoustic output also ensures that drivers do not need to take their eyes off the road, keeping distraction to an absolute minimum.
Users can input commands reliably with their hand sitting firmly on the ergonomic handrest without any need for hovering fingers. A new handrest detection feature also increases operating safety and helps prevent incorrect inputs. To this end the system analyses a sensor signal in three dimensions, thus detecting whether the hand is simply being placed on the handrest or is actually inputting data. The icons on the control surface are illuminated in the dark to help the user locate the various functions.
Three touch-sensitive buttons are arranged behind the touchpad which can be used to operate key functions quickly and directly (back function, switch to favourites menu, audio quick menu). The touchpad in the C-Class thus offers an additional, fully fledged and innovative input option to complement the existing controller and the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system. Users can choose at any time which input method they prefer.