Mercedes-Benz reveals new MBUX in new S-Class

Mercedes-Benz details its new MBUX system and new S-Class technology.

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the newest generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), the German brand’s smart digital assistant which first debuted two years ago at CES in the new A-Class. Shown in the upcoming 2021 S-Class, the system is headed by a large 12.8-inch OLED tablet-style flat screen with haptic feedback. But how has the brains of the technology evolved in two years?

Let’s say it’s a cold weekday night and there’s been an emergency. You don’t know where the first aid kit is, but you ask MBUX where it is and get an instant answer. Flustered, you ask for navigation to the nearest emergency room and follow the 3D augmented reality directions live on the windscreen. You might even need to approve a purchase on the way which is verified by facial recognition. This is the second-generation of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX.

It is also just a glimpse of the capabilities of the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience system which is more intelligent than before. It will debut in the new luxury S-Class, where it will integrate with a new digital-first cabin incorporating five large displays, high-level security functions including facial and voice recognition to make purchases on the fly and, of course, internet connectivity. And we’re still only just scratching the surface.

Beyond obvious cues are subtle and safety-conscious features of what MBUX can help with. For instance, MBUX now communicates at a with even more vehicle sensors and incoming data, and will continuously monitor information such as what the blind-spot cameras see. It can converge this with sensors that detect if an occupant is preparing to open the door and warn the person from danger by activating the ambient lighting and flashing red. It can also check if a child’s seat is properly attached, or monitor the driver for signs of microsleep and suggest pulling over.

Also assisting the driver is a new 3D augmented reality head-up display (AR-HUD), projecting two different head-up displays at the press of the new spatial-view button. It projects graphics in a three-dimensional format on the windscreen, such as navigation directions that look like they are sitting on the road ahead. This is best seen in the video above where Daimler board member Markus Schäfer walks us through the system.

For those familiar with the now ubiquitous MBUX system in current-generation Mercedes-Benz models, the second generation will move towards an even more fluent speech recognition system that hardly requires prompting “Hey Mercedes.”

Rather, the user can simply ask for directions or say they want to answer an incoming call without summoning the digital assistant first. And better smarts from the digital brains behind MBUX means that there’s depth to what it can do: explaining where the first aid kit is located, or explaining how a phone can be connected via Bluetooth.

The entirety of the system, and most importantly private user data, is protected by new security protocols. Not reliant on a PIN number (though one can still be used), sensors for fingerprint and facial and voice recognition are used to quickly access individual settings or verify digital payments.

The new MBUX will debut on the new 2021 S-Class, Mercedes deciding this time to debut its flagship technology on its flagship luxury line. However, like before, expect the connected technology to be implemented across the Mercedes range.

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