Mercedes wants to revolutionize in-car infotainment systems with AI technology that makes the experience more engaging.
Mercedes has shown off its new high-tech MBUX (standing for ‘Mercedes-Benz User Experience’) infotainment system at CES. But rather than debuting it in the flagship S-Class sedan it will instead feature in several compact Mercedes cars starting with the new A-Class to replace the outdated COMMAND system in an attempt to appeal to younger buyers. We’ve already had a good look at the plush cabin inside the Mercedes A-Class, which for the first time in the model’s history won’t be excluded from the US.
That said, there’s a good chance the A-Class will make its US debut as a sedan, rather than a hatchback like in Europe. A unique feature of the MBUX is the system’s ability to learn your driving habits thanks to artificial intelligence. According to Mercedes, the technology enables the MBUX to be individualized as it can adapt to suit the user. For example, it will monitor the music you listen to and generate a playlist accordingly, or suggest a contact to call if you phone the same person at similar times during the day. The innovative interface can be operated via a touchscreen or intelligent voice control to make navigation as intuitive as possible.
The system utilizes a high-resolution touchscreen with 3D graphics, a touchpad on the center console and Touch-Control Buttons on the steering wheel. Voice control can be activated by simply saying “Hey Mercedes” much like Amazon Alexa or pushing a button on the steering wheel. The language assistant can also identify indirect speech, so you can say things like “I am cold” instead of a clear command like “temperature to 24 degrees” in order to turn up the temperature of the climate control. “New technologies must focus on the people using them and make their life simpler. That’s why we combine intuitive and natural operation with intelligent and learning software in MBUX”, said Daimler AG's Ola Kallenius.
Three versions of the MBUX will be available to A-Class customers: the entry-level version features dual 7-inch displays, while a mid-level system includes one 7-inch and one 10.25-inch screen. Alternatively, customers will be able to select a range-topping dual 10.25-inch display system with a resolution of up to 1920x720 pixels (200 dpi). The MBUX system packs 8GB of ram a six-core CPU and nVidia graphics chips, while the operating system runs on Linux. Connectivity options include everything from Apple CarPlay to Google Android Auto, and the infotainment system will also support Near Field Communication and USB Type C for quick smartphone charging.