The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan replaces the outgoing CLA globally. Among its list of features and technology is the new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system that the company expects will rake in younger buyers towards the brand.
The compact sedan which will hit dealerships next year is Mercedes-Benz’s “gateway” vehicle- one which aims to attract the next generation of customers into its fold. To that end, the German automaker has primed the A-Class sedan through its low $30,000 price as well as a modern artificial-intelligence driven, voice-command enabled digital assistant.
The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is a user interface that learns the routines and preferences of the driver. It can recognise patterns and predict navigation routes and entertainment preferences based on the time of the day. Bernhard Glaser, director of product management at Mercedes-Benz said, “Typically, you have to learn the car, but with the MBUX, the car learns you,” while speaking to Automotive News at a media presentation in Seattle, U.S.A.
MBUX will start appearing on other Mercedes-Benz models over time an is part of the advent of smart infotainment platforms that automakers are investing significantly into. Advanced voice-recognition systems, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and faster computing have made possible the development of robust and feature-laden infotainment systems.
With MBUX, Mercedes-Benz hopes to catch the fleeting attention of millenials. “Typically, you would launch a new feature in a higher-level car,” Glaser said. “But, we decided to bring this feature in our A class because we want to attract younger and more tech-savvy buyers.” The system uses NVIDIA’s Parker mobile processor, employing natural language processing technology that does not rely on predetermined commands. Using voice control, MBUX can control a multitude of vehicle settings including interior lighting and temperature control.
Direct commands are also comprehended by mBUX. For instance, say “Hey, Mercedes, I’m freezing,” and the system will raise the temperature of the climate control. A question like “Hey, Mercedes, do I need an umbrella tomorrow?” will have MBUX pop up the weather forecast on the standard 7-inch or optional 10.25-inch touchscreen display. “We believe that driver distraction is a huge topic … and that voice is the best way of interacting with the system,” said Nils Schanz, head of user interaction and voice control at Daimler.
Over time and aided by over-the-air software updates, MBUX will keep becoming more sophisticated and interactive, even letting multiple people communicate with it. It is such a critical piece of automobile technology that automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and the likes are developing the platforms in-house rather than relying on third-party vendors to supply the systems. “To make it very brand-specific, to make it Mercedes-Benz-like, that’s a unique thing,” Schanz said. “This you can only do if you develop from scratch.”