As a neurotic urbanite, I generally never draw attention to myself on the way to the office. Yet today I have somehow attracted the puzzled – not to say anxious – looks of people concerned for my state of mind. On this mild, later summer’s morning, I’m stuck beside a bus stop at a red light and the windows of my A-Class are wide open. “What appointments do I have today?” I ask aloud, glancing to my right. The passenger seat is empty, as is the rear seat. Two ladies standing at the bus stop seem nonplussed. I turn to face the front to hear the voice of Siri emanating from the loudspeakers: “Today you have three events: at 11 a.m., at 1 p.m. and at 5 p.m.” But before she can list what each diary entry entails, the lights turn to green. People in the street have no idea my companion in the A 220 d 4Matic is a well-informed assistant. For my little helper – concealed in my smartphone – is fully integrated into the car’s system.
When I switch her on at the touch of a button on the steering wheel, she goes on to explain that my first meeting is with my boss, the second a telephone conference with Dr. Foster, followed by a seminar appointment in the afternoon. How reassuring it is to be able to consult my schedule whenever I want. And since I still have time on my hands, I decide to enjoy and explore the wonderful sense of freedom this car offers.