W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class' new MBUX detailed – 12.8-inch touchscreen, AR HUD, Interior Assist – paultan.org
With the W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class only set to debut in September, the German carmaker has plenty of time to slowly reveal information about its new flagship sedan. In a new entry in the S-Class Digital video series, the company is discussing one of the core aspects of its upcoming model, the second-generation Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface called My MBUX.
We’ve already seen the first iteration of the system in recent Mercedes-Benz models from the A-Class onwards, but the My MBUX system found in the S-Class represents a major leap forward in terms of functionality and capability. Of course, you would expect this given the stature of the S-Class, which has to fend off close rivals like the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 that have their fair share of technology.
Starting from the driver’s seat, the widescreen digital instrument cluster display remains a familiar item in the cabin, although it has been updated to allow for real-time 3D-effect graphics without the need to wear specific glasses. This is achieved by combining a conventional LCD display with a special pixel structure and a controllable LCD aperture grille.
Along with a stereo camera system integrated into the display, the system precisely tracks the eye position of the viewer and continuously adjusts the displayed image for a clear view of information. As before, the display is highly configurable, with a variety of modes, including Classic, Sport, Understated and Exclusive, the last of which is exclusive to the S-Class. In specific modes like driver assistance or navigation, the entire display is used, with plenty of information on show.
Just ahead of the driver’s digital display is a new head-up display that provides augmented reality (AR) content courtesy of a digital mirror device by Texas Instruments that consists of a consists of a high-resolution matrix of 1.3 million individual mirrors and a light source.
This is the first time the S-Class gets such a system, which generates images in the head-up display to provide AR content for driving assistance systems and navigation information. This is meant to reduce distractions like looking at another screen to see the AR content, which was the case with the previous MBUX system.
However, the pièce de résistance is the massive 12.8-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard and centre stack, which has a resolution of 1,888 x 1,728 pixels and can be had with an LCD or OLED panel – the latter consumes 30% less power. Given its size and graphical power needed to power it, the new system boasts 50% more processing power than before, a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) with 691 gigaflops, 16 GB of RAM and a 320 GB solid-state drive (SSD).
Almost all vehicle functions – entertainment, climate controls, navigation, vehicle settings – are accessed via the system, which results in 27 fewer physical buttons needed compared to the outgoing W222’s dashboard. With clear graphics and text, the system appears to be rather intuitive to use (like a smartphone), judging by what we see in the video demonstration.
As you’d expect, the system comes with plenty of connected features, including the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant that supports 27 languages) and can be controlled by rear passengers as well. The company says the assistant has been further enhanced to better understand occupants and there’s even a Chit-Chat and knowledge domain that answers questions about animal noises or general knowledge.
That’s not all, as live traffic, e-mail, an internet browser and many others are part of the feature set. These functions are also available to passengers in the back through the rear-seat entertainment package (with a dedicated tablet), which is directly linked to the My MBUX system.
This interconnectivity allows screen content to be easily shared by the driver to other passengers and vice versa. Additionally, you can also connect up to seven individual Mercedes me accounts by scanning a QR code with a dedicated app, so personal preferences can be applied to any seat inside the car. These profiles are stored in the cloud, meaning they can also be used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with My MBUX.
For added security, access to an Mercedes me account can not only be done with a PIN number, but also with three new biometric authentication methods, including fingerprint (via the home button), face and voice recognition.
To take things even further, there’s the MBUX Interior Assist system that uses cameras in the overhead control panel to recognise and anticipate the wishes and intentions of the occupants. By interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, specific vehicle functions can be called into action.
For instance, if the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind, or if the driver is looking for something on the front passenger seat in the dark, it automatically switches the light on. Natural hand movements are also recognised, allowing the drive to open the powered sunroof touch-free.
“Our overarching goal is to offer the utmost in comfort, personalization and convenience for our customers. A system that is more detailed, thoughtful and individual than ever before. So, I would even call it My MBUX. Through even more ease-of-use, our customers gain extra time and added value. This goes beyond just displays and voice control. My MBUX now becomes the spinal cord, or even the central brain of the vehicle,” said Sajjad Khan, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz AG and head of CASE.
“With our MBUX, we have designed the most desirable automotive operating system. We transferred the bipolarity of our aesthetic soul Sensual Purity to our MBUX operating system – the desire for beauty and the extraordinary with the ‘Wow of how it works’,” commented Gorden Wagener, chief design officer of the Daimler Group.
Now that we’re done with the tech talk, what of the rest of S-Class’ interior? Well, the demonstration involved the use of pod that doesn’t accurately represent the final product. However, we do see a floating centre console that stretches from the front of the cabin to the back, which is something evident in the Vision EQS, along with that large touchscreen.
Elsewhere, the seat controls on the doors are also of a different look and we get to see the two different steering wheel designs, with the six twin-spoke version meant for cars with the AMG Line package. Excited for the all-new S-Class?
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