Mercedes-Benz has systematically designed the new edition of its flagship model with the rear occupants in mind and has radically changed the operation of a Mercedes-Benz as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The second generation of this learn-capable system now has its debut in the new S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: brilliant displays on up to five large screens, in part with OLED technology, make control of vehicle and comfort functions even easier. The human factor is always the central consideration.
Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available on request, one of them an innovative variant with a particularly large image. The AR-HUD provides a great deal of augmented reality content for driving assistance systems and navigation information. For the driver this blends into the surroundings ahead of the vehicle, and can therefore contribute to further reduced distraction. The image-forming unit consists of a high-resolution matrix of 1.3 million. individual mirrors and a highly efficient light source, similar to the technology is also used by beamers in cinemas.
Alongside the classic entry of a PIN, a new authentication method ensures a high level of security. Fingerprint, face and voice recognition are combined. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.
However, the unique feature of MBUX is its networking with a wide range of vehicle systems and sensor data. For example, the exit warning function in the S-Class now uses cameras to recognise that an occupant wants to leave the vehicle. If another road user is approaching in the blind spot, the active ambient lighting becomes part of the exit warning system and flashes red. MBUX Interior Assist checks whether the child seat is correctly attached to the front passenger seat. The driver’s attention level is also monitored. The driver is warned by Attention Assist if there are signs of microsleep.
Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognises and anticipates the wishes and intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions. For example, if the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind. If the driver is looking for something on the front passenger seat in the dark, it automatically switches the light on. Merely looking at one of the outside mirrors is enough to allow adjustment, without having to select it first. Natural hand movements are also recognised, and the driver or passengers can open the sliding sunroof touch-free.
Conventional voice control systems in cars call for certain fixed commands from their users, however the new MBUX understands natural language and listens to almost every word and understands practically any sentence relating to infotainment sector and vehicle operations. Indirect speech is also recognised, for instance if the user says “I am cold” instead of the clear command “Temperature in footwell 24 degrees” in order to operate the climate control for the footwell. The voice control is also capable of learning. On the one hand it tunes into the user and their voice and also understands non-native speakers better; on the other hand the software models on the server learn new buzzwords or changing use of language with time.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is set to launch in India in 2021, and we expect the brand to offer most if not all the functionalities of the second-generation MBUX in the domestic variant!