Mercedes-Benz is using this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off its all-new MBUX infotainment system. The ground-up recode of the brand’s software will debut on the upcoming A Class this spring and finally bring a touchscreen to the Mercedes.
Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) will ultimately replace COMAND, the brand’s current infotainment system. With the replacement, Mercedes is ushering in a new user interface that looks more modern than COMAND and is centered on two large displays, one in the gauge cluster and one on the center stack.
After years of resisting it, Mercedes is making the center stack display a touchscreen. This input method is in addition to touch controls on the steering wheel and a touchpad in the center console, both of which are already found on the COMAND system.
MBUX is also bringing along a new natural voice control system. Similar to Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa, drivers will be able to speak to their Mercedes by simply saying “Hey Mercedes” and telling the vehicle what they need. For example, saying “I’m hot” will cue the car to change the climate control system accordingly.
Mercedes says its new voice control is even backed with artificial intelligence. This means the system will learn over time and become a virtual assistant for the owner. For example, if the driver calls the same person at similar times a day, the system will suggest the call for the driver.
Given how data-intense MBUX appears to be, it comes as no surprise it is constantly connected to the internet. MBUX will show hotel and other reviews from Trip Advisor within the navigation system and will conduct over-the-air software updates to keep everything fresh.
The connection will also allow for enhanced features for users of the Mercedes Me mobile app. Owners’ vehicle will send them a notification if their car is bumped into while it is parked, for example.