Ahead of the reveal of the upcoming S-Class scheduled in August, Mercedes-Benz has now shared further details of its new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system that will make its debut on the luxury executive sedan.
Now before we get into it, imagine yourself sitting in a sci-fi spaceship with the most advance artificial intelligence system you can think of – yup, that’s pretty much the new S-Class.
Just like what we saw in the leaks, the next-generation S-Class will be equipped with a 12.8-inch MBUX infotainment display, set-up in a portrait orientation. But what the leak did not show is that the car can be fitted with up to five screens – two in front, three at the back.
Screen content – such as videos, web pages, or even presentation slides – can be easily shared between the individual displays with a drag and drop. With all settings saved to the individual Mercedes me profiles and saved in the cloud, settings such as favourite radio stations and seat adjustments can also be easily transferred between seats. The new S-Class can support up to seven profiles.
To log in to your own profile as the driver, simply authenticate yourself via the fingerprint scanner at the centre console, or use the system’s face recognition system. Remember we said it’s just like a spaceship? Oh boy, we’re just getting started.
The driver’s instrument cluster uses an auto-stereoscopic display, allowing a true three-dimensional effect without wearing 3D glasses. The system uses a stereo camera system integrated in the display to track the driver’s eye position, therefore ensuring the view is always accurate.
Additionally, the new head-up display, which is now significantly larger – equivalent to a 77-inch TV screen at a 10-metre distance – can also overlay augmented reality information during navigation, showing the exact exit to take at a junction with arrows seemingly floating mid-air.
Hardware buttons inside the new S-Class have been significantly reduced – 27 lesser to be exact. Aside from key functions such as lights and windscreen wipers, everything else have been switched to touchpads, or accessed through the main infotainment system. For instance, the air-conditioning control panel has been moved into a persistent display segment at the bottom of the centre infotainment touchscreen.
So how do you control things then, you ask? Here’s the really cool part – using the roof-mounted cameras and learning algorithms, the new MBUX Interior Assist system on the upcoming S-Class can anticipate and recognise the intentions of the occupants through head and eye position, thus carrying out actions without even lifting a finger.
For example, if the driver looks behind over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, the rear sun blinds will automatically be lowered, allowing for a clearer view behind. Looking for something in the footwell of the passenger seat? The passenger-side overhead lights will be turned on automatically, almost like telepathy.
To adjust your exterior wing mirrors, just look at the one you would like to adjust, and all input will be automatically applied to the mirror you are looking at, without having to select it manually. The system also heavily relies on gesture-based controls – to open the sunroof blinds, the occupants will just have to swipe their hands mid-air, without actually having to touch any buttons.
The MBUX Interior Assist system is extended further into the safety aspect of the S-Class, too. When it detects a passenger intending to leave the vehicle while another car is approaching from a blind spot, the ambient lighting will become the exit warning system, flashing red to warn the passenger of potential danger.
Of course, the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant system is also updated, now capable of even more natural dialogues and helpful functionalities. Several commands – such as answering calls and displaying the navigation map, can be activated without using the “Hey Mercedes” keyphrase.
The voice assistant system can also now be activated from throughout the vehicle, with multiple microphones in the cabin to determine which passenger (and seat) the command was coming from.
Daimler Group chief design officer, Gorden Wagener said that the new My MBUX system on the upcoming S-Class is designed with “the desire for beauty and the extraordinary”, as well as “the Wow of how it works”. Well, consider us wowed – we can’t wait to feel like a modern-day wizard.