MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience): Intelligence in the interior

Jun 24, 2019
Stuttgart/Salt Lake City

The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its début, include two large 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens. The information on the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.

Depending on mood or to suit the chosen interior, the user has a choice of four different styles:

  • Modern Classic is a further development of the classic display style in an elegant and light material mix.
  • Sport has a high-tech turbine look with decidedly sporty black/yellow contrasts.
  • Progressive stages the digital realm in reduced form.
  • In the Discreet style, all displays are reduced to the absolutely necessary.

Available to the driver as an option is a full-colour head‑up display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.

General MBUX operation has been improved in numerous respects. For example, the settings menus are in a new design and the initial set-up assistant has been improved. The 40 or so new MBUX functions in the GLS include

  • Support for off-road specific drive modes (rocking mode and individual wheel actuation as well as off-road score)
  • Extended off-road displays in the instrument cluster and head-up display (linear and lateral inclination, Torque on Demand, vehicle level). The off-road-specific displays can also be consolidated into a special screen on the media display.
  • Also part of the Off-Road Package is a virtual "look through the bonnet". At low speeds, the camera in the front end of the car shows the rocks and bumps directly in front of the vehicle and allows assessing these obstacles and steering accordingly.
  • The setting for the full-screen map in the instrument cluster can be changed directly there
  • ADAPT driver's seat adjustment: if the body size is entered, the seat automatically moves to a usually suitable position.
  • Extension of online functions: for example, "In-car office" can now read out emails and have them dictated.
  • Integration of online music (TIDAL) in Europe
  • Extended range of apps, e.g. specific functions in the individual regions. Online music is available via the provider Kuwo in China, for example. Extensive information about points of interest (POIs) is made available by Baidu Wiki in China.

A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next, for example. For instance, anyone who often telephones their mother on Tuesdays during the journey home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.

Hey Mercedes: voice control is getting ever smarter

The voice control system was also further advanced. A recognition system based on the individual seat has been implemented. The voice assistance only responds to the commands of the person who last said "Hey Mercedes" to activate the system. Much more complex commands and questions are now understood, initially in the three top languages Mandarin, US English and German. For example: "Which child-friendly Asian restaurants are nearby which are neither Chinese nor Japanese?"

There is also a growing number of domains for which MBUX can understand complex questions and quickly reply: these include sport ("Hey Mercedes, what were the final scores in the football games this evening?"), the stock exchange ("How have the share prices developed in the past week on Wall Street?"), calculations ("What is the square root of 3?") or general knowledge ("What's the size of Texas?“, "How much fat content is in avocados?“)

MBUX Interior Assistant: intuitive support

The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver's and front passenger's hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the centre console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver's hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.

In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favourite functions, e.g. "navigate home" or "call office".

Augmented reality: additional navigation assistance

Other strengths include touchscreen control of the media display as standard and the use of augmented reality technology for the navigation display when the navigation function is active: a video image of the surroundings is enhanced with helpful navigation information, for example arrows or house numbers are automatically superimposed directly onto the image in the media display. This makes it easier for the driver to search for a certain house number, or to find the correct side road for turning off.