Mercedes-Benz has unveiled revolutionary driver alertness technology and a new infotainment system due to debut on its flagship S-Class limousine next year before it eventually filters down to more affordable models.
The technology is so advanced you may be able to make contactless payments using the car itself – which is why the new system is protected by a PIN code as well as fingerprints, facial recognition, or voice commands.
The new operating system – referred to internally as MBUX, for Mercedes-Benz User Interface or Experience – will be available with up to five screens, some of which include advanced high-definition OLED technology.
Mercedes also promises to take heads-up displays to the next level. Currently, heads-up displays reflect critical information from a screen hidden in the top of the dashboard, and into the lower section of the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight.
The new Mercedes MBUX interface promises to give the driver a 3D-like image, by creating the perception that instructions such as navigation arrows and speed warnings are painted on the road ahead.
“An impression of spatial depth is created when the eyes of a viewer perceive different perspective views of an object in the display,” the description by Mercedes says.
The augmented reality heads-up display blends instructions and information “into the surroundings ahead of the vehicle, and can therefore contribute to further reduced distraction”, the company says.
The image-forming unit (made by Texas Instruments) comprises a high-resolution matrix of 1.3 million individual mirrors. It is the same technology also used by projectors in cinemas, says Mercedes.
The new Mercedes S-Class limousine will also have a door exit warning – similar to the technology debuted by Audi four years ago – to detect cyclists and other passing traffic. The interior mood lights in the doors will flash rapidly and brightly if an occupant is about to open the door on a passing car or cyclist.
If the driver announces he or she is tired – by saying simply “I’m tired” – the car will start its “energizing comfort” mode, which includes massage seats (where fitted) and adjustments to the air-conditioning.
The “Hey Mercedes” voice commands – similar to Apple’s “Hey Siri” – now support 27 languages with “natural” understanding. The same voice activated tech will help drivers locate the vehicle’s first aid kit, if necessary.
In addition to electronic seat adjustment, the car will be able to calculate the most likely position of the seats and mirrors based on the height of the driver (using special in-car cameras).
Mercedes also says it will be possible to open the sunroof with a hand gesture and lower the rear window blind by looking over your shoulder.
The technology suite is the only detail of the new Mercedes S Class formally unveiled for now; the car itself is due to be shown in the metal in the coming weeks.
If you can’t wait that long, here are the latest spy photos of a largely undisguised car, posted on Instagram two months ago.
Meantime, here is a list of some of the tricks in the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class and MBUX operating system, according to the official statement:
- Media display in portrait format as a visual highlight
- On request this is available with OLED technology and haptic feedback
- The driver display allows real three-dimensional effect without having to wear 3D glasses
- Up to three screens in the rear
- Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers
- Selection and amendment of navigation destinations is possible from the rear seats
- By scanning a QR code with the Mercedes App, the vehicle is automatically connected to the
- Personal preferences such as a favourite radio station and preselected settings can be transferred to any seat via the personal Mercedes me profile
- Up to seven different profiles are possible in the vehicle
- The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote configuration, e.g. from home
- As the profiles can now be stored in the Cloud as part of Mercedes me, they can also be used in other
- Alongside entry of the Mercedes me PIN, new biometric and interconnected authentication functions ensure a high level of security. These are fingerprint, face and voice recognition
- The driver display is optionally available with two cameras. These are used e.g. for face recognition