Mercedes Benz envisions a future where cars anticipate our needs and connect us to the world in surprising new ways. That was the key message received from an immersive event in Melbourne where Mercedes demonstrated the smallest vehicle in its range. The new A-Class.\r\n\r\nLeading the event was an entertaining discussion on the future of driving. Panellists included a comedian, a renowned coder, a Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning swimmer, a physics student and communications manager for Mercedes Benz. It wasn\u2019t the typical group of speakers one expects from a PR event.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe heard about Mercedes\u2019 fully electric and emission-free cars and a fully autonomous vehicle that's in advanced development, expected to hit the road in the next few of years.\r\n\r\nThen it was on to the new A-Class, with Code Like a Girl founder Ally Watson being among the first to drive the new vehicle. The self -confessed nervous driver said the multiple intelligent functions in the A-Class transformed her opinion of driving.\r\n\r\n\u201cParking, you have 360-degree cameras, you can see everywhere. Driving, the car is helping me steer in the lane. You just feel so safe. It\u2019s got your back,\u201d said Ally.\r\n\r\n\u201cI can\u2019t go back to my normal car now. This is just another way of living.\u201d\r\n\r\nGold medal winner Cam McEvoy is studying to become a physicist and hopes to be involved in space exploration down the track. Talking about the A-Class\u2019 advanced technology, Cam said \u201ctechnology is always evolving, but you know you\u2019ve reached a new epoch when something that was integrated in your life day-in and day-out becomes obsolete and replaced by something that\u2019s much easier to use.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cWith the AI, you create a much more personal connection to the car, and it\u2019s got the technology that over time it will learn your habits. It\u2019s incredible, but so accessible as well.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nJerry Stamoulis, Communications Manager for Mercedes Benz, made a pitch that sounded more like a recap of Blade Runner than the car manufactures plans for the future. He said Mercedes is investing in start-ups such as Volocopter, which is developing automated flying taxis that will never take the wrong turn or get caught up in a traffic jam.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re investing in a number of start-ups. Obviously our main focus is automotive at this stage in terms of autonomous technologies, which the A-Class has, and the rest of the range will also receive. But we are moving towards a driverless future,\u201d said Jerry.\r\n\r\nAnd, of course, we got up close and personal with the new A-Class vehicle. MBUX, the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, makes the A-Class more intelligent. It learns more every day and gets to know the driver. It can remember favourite songs, automatically adjust radio stations and offer alternate routes if the roads are congested.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLinguatronic, Mercedes\u2019 voice control system has been overhauled. It can understand and talk to you, reading out text messages, or dictating one and sending it. All you need to do is say "hey Mercedes."\r\n\r\nThe head-up display projects all relevant info, such as speed, speed limits or navigation into your field of vision. The position and content can be adapted and saved in the car\u2019s memory function.\r\n\r\nJust in front of the centre console, where you would typically change gears, is a touchpad. The pad controls almost every feature, including navigation and ambient lighting. The touch-sensitive surface can even identify your handwriting.\r\n\r\nThose are just a few of the features that make the Mercedes Benz\u2019s new A-Class an appealing ride and the highlights from our night in Melbourne. The A-Class is on sale now and priced from $47,200.\r\nCheck it out\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHave you subscribed to Man of Many? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.