A little over two years ago, we opined on the lack of decent built-in nav systems, hopelessly waiting for Harman and Mercedes to make good on their promise of an easily upgradable in-dash setup. Well, the day has finally come, and the partners in automotive innovation are gearing up to introduce the Becker Map Pilot to the world at the Geneva Motor Show. As promised, the system combines the flexibility and features of a PND with the integration and good looks of a built-in setup -- although the interface shows up on the auto's central display panel and relays voice instructions over the car's speakers, the main unit is stored in the glove compartment, where it's easily removed and upgraded via the internet. If you can afford the mammoth price tag, Map Pilot will roll out in the new Mercedes-Benz SLK and C-Class, but if you don't have an extra $50,000 lying around, we'll still let you peep the PR after the break.

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HARMAN Launches Innovative Docking Navigation System with Mercedes-Benz

01-March-2011


GENEVA Motor Show - 01 March 2011 - HARMAN, the leading global audio and infotainment group (NYSE: HAR), today unveiled an innovative navigation solution for Mercedes-Benz that blends the flexibility of portable navigation devices with the convenience of complete driver cockpit integration. The new Becker® MAP PILOT continues a relationship between the Company's Becker brand and Daimler AG that dates back more than 60 years.

The new Becker® MAP PILOT navigation system, premiering in the new Mercedes-Benz SLK and in the new generation of C-Class, gives drivers a feature-rich and upgradeable navigation solution without compromising the convenience of a highly integrated in-dash OEM solution. Data for the system is contained in a compact, tethered navigation "brain," which can be easily removed from its docking cradle to update map data or upload the latest applications and feature sets. The unit seamlessly connects to the vehicle's onboard radio and fixed-screen electronics via a tailor-made cradle conveniently and discreetly housed in the car's glove compartment.

"The Becker® MAP PILOT underscores the leading-edge innovation that has resulted from our long association with Daimler AG," said Michael Mauser, Co-President of HARMAN Automotive. "The system blends the flexibility of the latest generation of portable navigation devices with the convenience of in-dash display and accessible controls to produce a system that is both easy to use and easily upgraded in the field."

The Becker® MAP PILOT is operated by means of conveniently-placed controls positioned on the car's multifunctional steering wheel, the turn/push control, and integrated voice commands. This approach provides maximum functionality while preventing driver distraction. The navigation route is shown on the large-format central display and instrument cluster, and voice instructions are reproduced in the best possible sound quality from the car's onboard speakers – a distinct advantage over conventional portable navigation systems.

The unique connectivity of the Becker® MAP PILOT ensures perfect integration and networking with the car's onboard electronics. The navigation unit can be removed from the vehicle in a single movement and can be updated online anytime using the Becker® MAP PILOT Webshop site (www.beckermappilot.com) which enables maps and software to be upgraded and personalized information such as points of interest (POIs) to be downloaded simply and conveniently. HARMAN intends to continuously expand the range of new applications available in the Webshop, adapting to the increasing expectations and personal needs of the user.

For maximum security, the Becker® MAP PILOT is not visible from outside the car and feels like a built-in navigation system when in use. A lock on the integrated cradle prevents the device from being removed without permission, and its location inside the glove compartment ensures the unit remains securely anchored. The direct link to the Mercedes-Benz SLK or C-Class base radio means that the latest traffic warnings and other updates can be incorporated automatically in the route planning system by means of the Traffic Message Channel (TMC), and the guidance system automatically adapts itself to the current traffic situation.

This pioneering system will also be available in other Mercedes-Benz models in the future.