Late in 2017, Mercedes-Benz announced that the next-generation A-Class would debut a new infotainment system. And now the Stuttgart-based brand has detailed what it terms “a revolution in the cockpit”.
Revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the new system is dubbed the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX for short. The automaker has confirmed that it will enter series production in 2018 in the new A‑Class.
Mercedes says the system has the “ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence”, which means it can be individualised and that it “adapts to suit the user”. Interestingly, it also allows “over the air” updates.
According to the brand, MBUX will anticipate what the user would like next. For instance, someone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays on the drive home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion on the display on this day of the week. And someone who usually switches over to a radio station for the news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
All settings – from seating position and preferred ambient lighting through to favourite radio station) can be saved in a profile, allowing different drivers of the same vehicle to each easily call up their preferred settings.
Other features of the new MBUX system includes the high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit, navigation display with augmented reality technology and the intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition (activated with the phrase “Hey Mercedes”). The system is controlled using the touchscreen, a touchpad on the centre console and touch-control buttons on the steering wheel.
“With MBUX we have come another step closer to turning the vehicle into a mobile assistant,” said Sajjad Khan, vice president for digital vehicle & mobility at Daimler.
“The system's ability to learn is spectacular, and unique to date in the car industry. We are using artificial intelligence to give the user individual suggestions based on their habits. The algorithm we use for this is optimised for on-board use in the vehicle and exploits the opportunities afforded by the latest chip generation. ”
Mercedes says the operating system on the free-standing Widescreen Cockpit comprises three levels, with increasing information density. On the first level, you’ll find the homescreen, where the most important information is displayed.
Next comes the basescreen, with the display and controls used for one main application. Important information such as destination or music search are grouped at the bottom edge of the screen. For seldom-used functions there is the submenu on the final level.
Finally, in fullscreen mode, the entire area of the instrument cluster is used for displaying assistance, journey or navigation functions.
Interestingly, Mercedes says the driver can furthermore access MBUX functions via smartwatch (addresses or points of interest, for instance, can be directly sent from the smartwatch to the vehicle).