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Mercedes-Benz S-Class magic ride

Mercedes-Benz Magic Body Control ... "nothing to do with Victoria's Secret".

... but they will soon be getting something close to a Magic Carpet Ride.

The engineers and electronics boffins are working hard on the Magic Body Control system for debut in the next incarnation of the technology flagship S-Class, according to Professor Bhrat Balasubramanian, vice-president in charge of innovation and technology at Mercedes-Benz.

Balasubramanian joked that Magic Body Control was"nothing to do with Victoria's Secret" and was the next step forward from the active body control system that is on the current top-end cars in the Benz range.

He trained as a mechanical engineer in the late 1970s at the University of Karlsruhe before beginning his career with Daimler-Benz in 1977 as computational analysis engineer, working in the research and development areas of the passenger car division.

His team has worked on the camera systems to recognise speed limit signs and decided to look at other applications for the syste.

Balasubramanian said the system underpinned the F700 concept car, with laser scanners measuring the road and feeding it back to the car:"We called it the Magic Carpet Ride."

"Anyone who was allowed to drive the car was flabbergasted by it. It was driven at 120km/h on rough roads and they were blown away by the comfort and handling it could provide. It supercedes the Active Body Control and will be seen in the next-generation S-Class."

In-car connectivity is another area under Balasubramanian's eye. He says it presents a number of challenges for the company and the industry going forward.

Peak among the issues with in-car technology is the balance between informing the occupants and distracting the driver, something the car maker hopes to minimise by tailoring the information delivered using its own server.

"The system, in the new C and SLK, offers new connectivity through the user's Bluetooth and phone tethering, you can access various internet options through our backend server, which is designed to offer content that the driver can easily look at and read," he says.

Balasubramanian says the long-term goal is seamless connectivity between the car, the home and the workplace.

"Now you can go from home to car, you can plan a route in Google now and send it to the car, it's all about the communciation - we are waiting for 4G and once it comes you'll have higher bandwith that will allow more information faster.

"We own the backend server and we manage how content gets into the vehicle, so there's very little in driver distration," he says, adding that the Mercedes-Benz unit complies with US and European standards.

"What we hear and feel is older customers want integrated and easy, the younger ones want seamless technology across home, car and work. This is a challenge we need to address and we will meet it."