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I was reviewing some of the unique features of the new A Class Mercedes Benz sedan at the following YouTube link and discovered that Daimler AG's Mercedes division has purchased a 10% stake in the global mapping company What3Words. It turns out that the average person has trouble describing their own GPS coordinates, whereas they can easily pronounce and spell three simple words with dots between them.

Mercedes A Class sedan review:

What3Words description:

What3Words Aims to Redefine Everything You Know About Navigation in 3 Little Words

[T]he company developed a system that tags each of the 52 trillion three-meter-by-three-meter (roughly 10-square-feet) grid points on the globe with a three-word identifier... Though 52 trillion sounds like a mind-bending number of word combinations, the magic of math means they can be derived from fairly limited databases. The system uses an algorithm that draws from 40,000 words in English, and up to 25,000 words each in 26 other languages, which can automatically translate their output to other languages. (The English database covers points on the water, not just land—hence the extra word count.)

It’s algorithm-based, so the entire system can be contained in an app, and thus usable without a data connection... it's not designed to replace conventional grid coordinates, but rather overlays a more readily accessible and comprehensible identification system over them. For that reason, it can integrate fairly easily into existing GPS-based systems, since What3Words simply translates coordinates into the three-word codes. And the grid is permanent; the words associated with each spot are the ones that will always be associated with it...

Logistics company DB Schenker announced last month that it would integrate the system to help mitigate imprecise addressing for it services—becoming the first global shipper to do so—and Mercedes recently purchased a 10-percent stake in the company, and will introduce it into all of its vehicles, with the forthcoming A-Class sedan the first to use the system. This will allow drivers to simply enter the three words via the keypad or voice recognition system, and head off for the location. It’s now being integrated into postal systems of nations with remote, often mobile rural populations, including Mongolia and Nigeria...

Depending upon how large a tract or parcel of land a particular postal address is associated with, that same piece of property can contain a significant number of What3Words location addresses within its boundaries. If a person wants to find one particular square (an approximately 1 meter x 1 meter plot) within their property's boundaries, they can click around on What3Words's web site and select a square labeled with 3 words that are easy to remember.

For instance, I recently took a look at a couple of pieces of property in 2 different states, and by clicking around on each parcel, I put together the following lists of 3 word location addresses, from a series of squares that included many, many more:

List 1

From List 1, I consider "folks.gently.twitter" to be the easiest for me to remember the location of that property. You may have selected a different phrase.

List 2

From List 2, I think that "cover.friend.bangers" is the easiest to recall - even if it does seem a bit risque' (perhaps no more so than "vision.bunny.stickier" or "achieving.vibrate.piggy)."

I don't know whether Mercedes will enjoy greater success in selling its newly tech-heavy automobile lineup (something that the Japanese carmakers have traditionally excelled in). However, the first above-linked YouTube video includes an extensive review and demonstration of the best-in-class voice command interface that Mercedes has achieved.

If What3Words can help Mercedes to improve and perfect its automation and navigation systems, then hopefully the driving public (or future riding public) will enjoy greater safety and accuracy of navigation.

In the roughly 20 years since voice commands were first attempted, it is good to see that the technology has finally come close to performing in the manner that drivers imagined.

For further examination, What3Words may be found at the following link:
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