Mercedes Is Amping Up For The Big-Screen Arms Race

Illustration for article titled Mercedes Is Amping Up For The Big-Screen Arms Race
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, a fully electric sedan that takes direct aim at Tesla’s top offerings, will offer an optional display screen that stretches the entire width of the dashboard. Mercedes is calling it the MBUX Hyperscreen, because it is not just a screen, it is also hyper.

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MBUX, of course, is the infotainment system Mercedes introduced in 2018. The MBUX Hyperscreen will be its fullest expression to date. The screen will be bright and look slick, to be sure, with its OLED technology. It’s 56 inches wide and has 377 square inches of surface area.

But what’s most interesting to me about it is how Mercedes says it is using artificial intelligence for personalization.

Quoth Merc:

Mercedes-Benz has researched the usage behavior of the first MBUX generation, and learned that most of the use cases fall in the Navigation, Radio/Media and Phone categories. Therefore, the navigation application is always at the center of the screen unit with full functionality for ease of use. Over 20 further functions – from the active massage program to a birthday reminder, and suggestions for a to-do list – are automatically offered with the aid of artificial intelligence, if they are relevant to the customer. “Magic Modules” is the in- house name the developers have given to these suggestion modules, which are shown on the zero-layer.

Here are four use case examples. The user can either accept or reject the respective suggestion with just one click:

1. If you always call one particular person on the way home on Tuesday evenings, you will be asked to make a corresponding call on that day of the week and that specific time of day. A business card appears with their contact information and – if it’s stored – their photo will appear. All MBUX suggestions are linked to the user’s profile. If someone else drives the EQS on a Tuesday evening, this recommendation would not be made – or another one is made, depending on the preferences of the other user.

2. If the EQS driver regularly uses the hot-stone massage function featured in the optionally available Active Multicountour Seats, the system learns and automatically suggests the hot-stone massage function for the driver in colder temperatures.

3. If the user regularly uses both the heated steering wheel and heated seat functions together, MBUX intelligently suggests to enable the heated steering wheel as soon as the user turns on the heated seat.

4. The suspension of the EQS can be raised in order to offer more ground clearance. A useful function for steep driveways or speedbumps to create a smoother ride. MBUX remembers the GPS position where the user utilized the “Raise Vehicle” function. If the vehicle approaches this GPS position again, MBUX automatically suggests raising the EQS.

All of Mercedes’ examples aren’t exactly essential, though I could see the ride height thing coming in handy if you live somewhere where you’d use it. Beyond that, the screen is an interesting glimpse into where infotainment in cars is going. (It is also far from the first big screen we’ve seen, very far.)

Mercedes, for example, is moving away from submenus — its so-called “zero-layer” has most important apps available via no menu at all — which is a welcome change because submenus are often the most annoying part of using new car infotainment. That’s also good because the thing people miss about knobs and buttons is that they put everything right there in front of you.

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Gorden Wagener, head of design at Mercedes, said the strategy is basically to make technology that users don’t low-key hate all the time, as has sometimes been said about car touchscreens.

When I use MBUX, then intuitively, I didn’t have to think about whether and how. When we look at the thinking of my parents’ generation they were asking: do I want to use technology? It’s completely different today, the fusion of technology and design makes it so easy: I want to use this technology. If technology can do a lot, but I have to work out the usage, I always stay at a distance. That’s why it was important that our success is based on the idea that it must work just as well as it looks.

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Here are some more pictures; don’t sleep on the vents.

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Photo: Mercedes-Benz
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News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

hammerheadfistpunch
HammerheadFistpunch

What I’m looking at probably costs more to replace than either of my cars does to buy.  Tell me again why the used market is so hot again?