Perfect to impress its increasingly-connected customers.
While it’s all the rage now to have some form of smartphone mirroring system available in your car, there are quite a few automotive marques who aren’t all too keen on the idea of ceding control and functionality to the IT behemoths of Google and Apple. Mercedes-Benz in particular has been quietly against smartphone mirroring tech in their cars, and it appears that they’ve finally finished work on a new in-house interface system that can be registered as the strongest rejection of smartphone mirroring yet.
The new interface, called MBUX, takes over from Mercedes-Benz’s long-standing COMAND (with one M) infotainment system, and is designed to offer unparalleled workability, functionality, and accessibility of any system presently on the market. The interface, which promises to take intuitiveness to a whole new level, will be shipped first with the all-new A-Class compact car family, which is set to arrive later this year (though that raises a question for us: Will the G-Class get it, too?).
One of the headlining features with MBUX, which is being extensively previewed at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is something called “natural language processing,” which Mercedes says allows you to essentially have a conversation with your car. It goes without saying that MBUX will come with ‘always-on’ voice commands (rather than a push-button-then-speak sort of arrangement in older cars) that allows you to simply say ‘Mercedes,’ followed by your command. Voice control, the brand claims, can adjust everything from climate, lighting, and seating settings, though we suspect that safety functionality will not be available for alteration via this method.
Mercedes-Benz understands that the experience using an in-car infotainment system is as much an emotional experience as much as it is a technological one. As such, MBUX will offer up its displays, menus and functions with a wide array of animations, graphics, and a ‘unique’ 3D interface, which allows the car to present functions and features in a ‘layered’ effect, essentially permitting drivers and passengers to interact with the various ‘levels’ of the interface, accessing different functionalities with each one. Think of it as right-clicking something on your computer, and how that allows you to access a different ‘layer’ of functionality. Like that.
As is the norm for next-generation infotainment systems, MBUX utilises artificial intelligence technology capable of intelligent learning (as opposed to…), meaning that your MBUX-equippped Mercedes will get smarter and smarter the more you interact with it. Capable of conversing in some 23 languages, MBUX will also be able to understand slang words and popular terminology, which when coupled with the AI system, means that it can offer up route, music, even connectivity suggestions based on what it thinks you’d like at that time.
Despite Mercedes’ clear indication that it isn’t keen on having other people mucking-about in their cars, MBUX will offer functionality and support for third-party apps, like Google Alexa, Yelp and the like, as well as connectivity to smartwatches to enable door-to-door navigation.
For more information on Mercedes-Benz, check out our Showroom.