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Our Wish Is Their Command

May 10, 1999|BETTIJANE LEVINE

We haven't yet heard of a self-cleaning car, but the way things are going, it's not far in the future. Consider the following auto-magic upgrades in the new Jaguar S-Type for the year 2000. This car may actually be the only one in your household to always listen to what you want--and then do it.

Stuck on the freeway and late for dinner? Just say "phone home" and the car will obey. Too hot? Just say "cool it" (or whatever words you've programmed into the system), and your geisha-like vehicle will respond. You can change from Howard Stern to National Public Radio without lifting a finger, just by talking to your car; ditto for operating the tape and CD players with nothing but your vocal cords. All this is an auto-industry first, says Jaguar, which offers more than any other auto-maker in the way of voice activation.

For the year 2000, Mercedes is also sensor-happy. Right now, the sensors in the firm's flagship S-Class sedan are strategically placed outside and inside to detect how much sun is coming in, how many passengers are in the car and how hot (or cold) each person is. The car cools each person automatically, with 10 tiny fans built inside each seat, guaranteeing that you'll never again have to sear your fanny on hot leather.

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