Mercedes-Benz USA took its place as the first automaker — as well as the first non-computer/technology company — to deliver a keynote address to the who’s who of the computer industry gathered this week at COMDEX/Fall , one of the world’s largest information technology tradeshows/conferences.

The display highlights and explains the latest in Mercedes-Benz technology, including active body control, distance monitoring systems, active cylinder control, telematics, web-based information services and more.

COMDEX attendees also have the opportunity to test drive 2001 Mercedes-Benz models in an area adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Over 1,500 test drives have taken place since the test drives began on Monday. Also during these five days, MBUSA is conducting workshops focusing on various aspects of automotive-related technology, including voice recognition, telematics and fiber optics.

In his keynote address, Ken Enders, vice president of marketing for MBUSA, discussed automobiles as the next platform for the computer industry and how the two industries could complement each other in this next frontier as well as what the challenges and opportunities might be.

“The average commuter spends 1.5 hours per day in their car. There are 135 million registered vehicles in the US — more cars and trucks than homes. If you think about it, this is an amazing opportunity for the computer industry. It’s certainly too important for automotive companies to ignore,” Enders said.