“Mama, Papa, auto” — as the father of a two-year-old daughter, I know how delighted parents are when their child speaks his or her first words. But combinations of three words can do even more than making parents proud: They can enable you to locate any place in the whole world.
Traditional address systems do not fulfill all daily needs. For one thing, there are many areas all over the world in which the individual structures do not have addresses of their own. For example, if they are located outside of settlements, in parks or forests, or on a mountain. Besides, addresses can be imprecise or ambiguous, and many street names exist in more than one place.
It’s true that every location on earth is defined by its GPS coordinates. But who can remember these complicated series of numbers?
This problem is addressed by what3words. The system, which was devised by a startup founded in 2013, divides the world into 57 billion squares measuring three meters on a side. Three words are assigned to each one of these squares. Each of these places thus has a clear identity that is easy to remember.
So, whenever you wish to travel to a place that does not have an unambiguous address (Dune 63 in the Gobi Desert, a cabin in the Black Forest or Gate 5 on a factory site), you only need to mark the point on the global map on the what3words Website. The system will immediately give you the corresponding three-word combination that names your destination.
An algorithm uses the system’s vocabulary of 25,000 words to name places in such a way that combinations that might be confused lie physically far apart. As a result, people and machines alike can easily see when they have entered the wrong three-word name.
Mercedes-Benz and what3words
Mercedes-Benz was the first automaker to use this innovative address system. In the navigation system of the new A-Class, which has the new multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience as standard equipment, destinations can be easily entered with just three words, as follows:
Hey Mercedes, take me to what3words happy holidays everyone.
In this case, at the end of our trip we would find ourselves near Jakarta, in Indonesia. A bit far away for a short Easter drive, I admit. But that’s exactly why I’m blogging today: Mercedes-Benz is giving approximately 700,000 customers a digital Easter present that’s very special.
All Mercedes owners whose cars are equipped with the latest generation of COMAND Online can now have what3words*) integrated into their navigation systems free of charge. These vehicles include all models of the E-Class family, all models of the S-Class family, the new CLS, and, after its market launch in July, the new completely redesigned C-Class family.
In order to receive W3W, all you need is a link with the Mercedes me account and the activation of the local search service. If you’d like to find out whether this is possible for your vehicle, you can check at me.mercedes-benz.com.
The entire process can be easily carried out as an over the air upgrade. In other words, our customers don’t have to go to their local dealer or to a workshop. For us at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center, located at ///noted.doors.dignity, that’s certainly something to celebrate. But take care. As you can see in this example, you can not translate a three word combination simply into another language. The German equivalent to the Technology Center is ///unsere.erfinder.feier which would be “our.inventor.party” in English.
We think, this digital Easter present is a perfect example of the intelligent connection between cars and their owners’ individual daily lives. And yet another demonstration of the fact that we at Mercedes-Benz are pioneers in the digitalization of the auto industry.
In this spirit, ///happy.digital.journey (which is near the town of Leer in Lower Saxony, Germany).
*) Initially available languages:
Voice input: German and English
- Navigate to what3words happy holidays everyone
- Drive me to what3words happy digital journey
- Navigiere zu Dreiwortadresse Mama Papa Auto
- Fahre mich zu w3w unsere Erfinder Feier
Text input: German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Turkish, Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Arabic, Mongolian, and Polish.