Mercedes EQS MBUX Hyperscreen driver assistant comes with artificial intelligence
Visually impressive, radically easy to operate and extremely eager to learn – the MBUX Hyperscreen is one of the highlights in the Mercedes EQS.
It represents the emotional intelligence of the all-electric upper-class model: The large, curved screen unit stretches almost the entire width from the left to the right A-pillar. In addition to its sheer size, the high-quality, detail-loving design also provides a “wow” effect. This aesthetic high-tech look is the emotional dimension of the MBUX hyperscreen. Added to this is artificial intelligence (AI) – with software capable of learning, the display and operating concept adapts completely to its user and makes personalised suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions.
Thanks to the so-called zero layer, the user does not have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The most important applications are always offered in a situational and contextual way at the top level in view. In this way, numerous operating steps are taken away from the EQS driver. And not only him: The MBUX Hyperscreen is also an attentive assistant for the passenger. It receives its own display and operating area.
MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) has radically simplified the operation of a Mercedes-Benz. Unveiled in 2018 in the current A-Class, there are now more than 1.8 million Mercedes-Benz passenger cars equipped with it on the roads worldwide. The Van division is also relying on MBUX. A few months ago the second generation of this learn-capable system debuted in the new S-Class. The next big step now follows in the form of the new EQS and the optionally available MBUX Hyperscreen.
“With our MBUX Hyperscreen, a design vision becomes reality” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group. “We merge technology with design in a fascinating way that offers the customer unprecedented ease of use. We love simplicity, we have reached a new level of MBUX.”
“The MBUX Hyperscreen is both the brain and nervous system of the car”, says Sajjad Khan, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG and CTO. “The MBUX Hyperscreen continually gets to know the customer better and delivers a tailored, personalised infotainment and operating offering before the occupant even has to click or scroll anywhere.”
Electrifying appearance with emotional visualization
The MBUX Hyperscreen is an example of digital/analogue design fusion: several displays appear to blend seamlessly, resulting in an impressive, curved screen band. Analogue air vents are integrated into this large digital surface to connect the digital and physical world.
The MBUX Hyperscreen is surrounded by a continuous plastic front frame. Its visible part is painted in an elaborate three-layer process in “Silver Shadow“. This coating system achieves a particularly high-quality surface impression due to extremely thin intermediate layers. The integrated ambient lighting installed in the lower part of the MBUX Hyperscreen makes the display unit appear to float on the instrument panel.
The passenger also has its own display and operating area, which makes travel more pleasant and entertaining. With up to seven profiles, it is possible to customize the content. However, the entertainment functions of the passenger display are only available during the journey within the framework of the country-specific legal regulations. If the passenger seat is not occupied, the screen becomes a digital decorative part. In this case, animated stars, i.e. the Mercedes-Benz Pattern, are displayed.
For a particularly brilliant image, OLED technology is used in central and passenger displays. This is where the individual image points are self-luminous; non-controlled image pixels remain switched off, which means that they appear deep black. The active OLED pixels, on the other hand, radiate with high colour brilliance, resulting in high contrast values, regardless of the angle of view and the lighting conditions.
This electrifying display appearance goes hand in hand with emotionally appealing visualisation. All the graphics are styled in a new blue/orange colour scheme throughout. The classic cockpit display with two circular instruments has been reinterpreted with a digital laser sword in a glass lens.
Thanks to its clear screen design with anchor points, the MBUX Hyperscreen is intuitive and easy to operate. An example of this is the display style EV mode. Important functions of the electric drive such as boost or recuperation are visualized in a new way, with a spatially moving clasp, and thus made tangible. A lens-shaped object moves between these clamps. It follows gravity and thus depicts the G-Force forces impressively and emotionally.
Personalised suggestions with the aid of artificial intelligence
Infotainment systems offer numerous and comprehensive functions. Several operating steps are often required to control them. In order to further reduce these interaction steps, Mercedes-Benz has developed a user interface with context-sensitive awareness with the help of artificial intelligence.
The MBUX system proactively displays the right functions at the right time for the user, supported by artificial intelligence (see below for examples). The context-sensitive awareness is constantly optimised by changes in the surroundings and user behaviour. The so-called zero-layer provides the user at the top level of the MBUX information architecture with dynamic, aggregated content from the entire MBUX system and related services.
Mercedes-Benz has investigated the usage behaviour of the first MBUX generation. Most of the use cases fall in the Navigation, Radio/Media and Telephony categories the navigation application is therefore always at the centre of the screen unit with full functionality.
Over 20 further functions – from the active massage programme through the birthday reminder, to the suggestion for the to-do list – are automatically offered with the aid of artificial intelligence when they are relevant to the customer. “Magic Modules” is the in-house name the developers have given to these suggestion modules, which are shown on the zero-layer.
Four use cases
If you always call a certain friend on the way home on Tuesday evenings, you will be asked to make a corresponding call on that day of the week and at this time of day. A business card with its contact information appears, and – if stored – its image appears. All MBUX suggestions are linked to the user’s profile.
If someone else drives the EQS on a Tuesday night, this recommendation is not made – or there is another, depending on the preferences of the other user.
If the EQS driver regularly uses the massage function according to the hot stone principle in winter, the system learns and automatically suggests the comfort function in wintry temperatures.
If the user regularly switches on the heating of the steering wheel and other surfaces for seat heating, for example, this is suggested to him as soon as he presses the seat heating.
The chassis of the EQS can be lifted to provide more ground clearance. A useful function for steep garage entrances or sleep policemen. MBUX remembers the GPS position at which the user made use of the “Vehicle Lift-Up” function. If the vehicle approaches the GPS position again, MBUX independently proposes to lift the EQS.
Interesting facts & figures
With the MBUX Hyperscreen, several displays appear to merge seamlessly, resulting in an impressive 141-centimetre wide and curved screen band. The area that passengers can experience is 2,432.11 cm².
The large glass cover display is curved three-dimensionally in the moulding process at temperatures of approx. 650°C. This process allows a distortion-free view of the display unit across the entire width of the vehicle, irrespective of the display cover radius.
To get to the most important applications, the user must scroll through 0 menu levels. That’s why Mercedes-Benz calls this zero layer.
There are a total of 12 actuators beneath the touchscreen for haptic feedback during operation. If the finger touches certain points there, they trigger a tangible vibration in the cover plate.
Two coatings of the cover plate reduce reflections and make cleaning easier. The curved glass itself consists of particularly scratch-resistant aluminium silicate.
The safety measures include predetermined breaking points alongside the side outlet openings as well as five holders which can yield in a targeted manner in a crash thanks to their honeycomb structure.
8 CPU cores, 24-gigabyte RAM and 46.4 GB per second RAM memory bandwidth are some of the MBUX technical specifications.
With the measurement data of a 1 multifunction camera and also 1 light sensor the brightness of the screen is adapted to the ambient conditions.
With up to seven profiles, the display section can be individualised for the front passenger.
The people behind MBUX
Interviewing Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group, and Sajjad Khan, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG and CTO, on the new MBUX generation.
Gorden Wagener, 52, joined the company in 1997 and has been head of Daimler AG’s global design division since mid-2008. Under his leadership, a new design strategy for Mercedes-Benz was designed in 2009, which is constantly being further developed. Effective November 1, 2016, the Executive Board of Daimler AG has appointed Wagener as Chief Design Officer. Wagener studied Industrial Design at the University of Essen before specialising in Transportation Design at the Royal College of Art in London.
Sajjad Khan, 47, is a board member of Mercedes-Benz AG. He is responsible for the development of Connectivity, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric. After completing a master’s degree in Information & Communication Technology with a focus on product development and the first international projects in industry, he joined the then DaimlerChrysler AG in 2001. There he worked on various projects in the field of infotainment.
When was the last time you said “Hey Mercedes!”
Wagener: “That’s less than 15 minutes on the way to the office. When I use MBUX, then intuitively, I don’t have to think about whether and how. This is actually the thinking of my parents’ generation: do I want to use technology? It’s completely different today, the fusion of technology and design makes it so easy: I want to use this technology. If technology can do a lot, but I have to work out the usage, I always stay at a distance. Our success is based on the idea that it must work just as top as it looks.”
Khan: “For me it was similar to Gorden, on the way to the office. I wasn’t sure if I had turned off the lights in the living room at home. And so, thanks to the MBUX Smart Home function via Hey Mercedes, I checked briefly at home whether the light was on or off. And that’s what innovative and intuitive technology is all about – it supports me, makes my life easier and saves me time.”
What was it like to present the car cockpit of the future?
Khan: “The days around the world premiere of MBUX in Las Vegas were a very exciting time for my team and me. Will we be able to complete the extensive programming in good time? Does the live demo work in the seating boxes? And will journalists realize the potential of MBUX? But we were lucky enough to be able to: Everything worked wonderfully, and the media representatives and the audience were thrilled. Just four months later, the new A-Class was launched as the first model with MBUX. In the meantime, more than 1.8 million Mercedes-Benz cars are on the road, and the van sector also relies on MBUX. A new Mercedes without MBUX is already unthinkable. We are now building on the absolute success story with the second MBUX generation.”
Wagener: “The Las Vegas trade fair was just the right place for the world premiere of MBUX: The abbreviation CES stands for Consumer Electronics Show, but CES has become an important tech trade show. This reflects the increasing digitization and networking of all areas of life. Like seismographs worldwide, my design colleagues in our four international design studios are feeling exactly these trends and are inspired by new ideas from other continents and cultures, their field of work is the future. A visit to CES has always been very inspiring, especially when it comes to topics such as user experience or trends such as ‘Fit & healthy'”.
What are the highlights of the new MBUX generation for you?
Khan: “Of course, I have personal favourites, and this necessarily includes the huge MBUX hyperscreen in the EQS. With its unique electro-aesthetics and high user-friendliness, it represents the entire character of the EQS – avant-garde, cool, personal and useful – the German word “practical” simply does not match it as perfectly as the English term. But it is very important to me not only to talk about individual hardware components of MBUX. The clever networking of all systems and the intelligent software that can be learned are also crucial. Our MBUX philosophy is to offer our customers maximum comfort, personalization and amenities. A system that goes into even more detail, is more thoughtful and individual than ever before. The advantage for our customers: Thanks to the optimized user-friendliness, they save time and get a high added value. MBUX becomes the backbone or even the central brain of the vehicle.”
Wagener: “With MBUX, our goal was to create the most desirable automotive infotainment system. We have transferred the bipolarity of our design philosophy Sensual Purity to MBUX – that is, on the one hand the sensual beauty and on the other the ‘wow effect’ of the uniquely intuitive operation. And at the EQS as a representative of Progressive Luxury, we were able to be a little more modern, bolder and more polarizing. By the way also in the exterior, but only by the way. I see it like Sajjad, also my absolute favourite in the interior is the MBUX Hyperscreen. We have thus invented a new interface that brings design and technology together. The MBUX Hyperscreen was born: a digital piece of art, a futuristic, luxurious sculpture and also a huge technological challenge.”
How has MBUX’s usability been further enhanced?
Wagener: “We stage technology through design in a way that is fun and beautiful at the same time. And above all, it is intuitive to use. In addition to cool hardware, the content and handling are also crucial, i.e. what we show on the screen unit and how it can be used by the customer. We have a high optical standard, with super finely worked out details. And our so-called zero layer is another ease of operation. The most important and most commonly used interactions can be operated on a single, top-level level. You rarely have to dive into submenus and thus shorten the interaction time. This is a continuation of intuitive operation and is part of the ’emotional intelligence’ of our Mercedes-EQ brand.”
Khan: “Yes, the MBUX hyperscreen is at the same time brain and nervous system of the car, it is connected to all components of the vehicle and communicates with them. This allows for a new form of interactivity and individuality. This is because the customer is at the centre of development. We analysed the customer feedback of the first MBUX generation and asked ourselves: ”What do people need and how do they interact in the car? Especially in an electric car?’ The goal was a concept without distraction of the driver or complicated operation. And it had to be able to learn thanks to artificial intelligence: The MBUX Hyperscreen gets to know the customer better and better, providing a customized, personalized infotainment and operating offer before the passenger has to click anything. We didn’t want to build the biggest screen ever in a car. Instead, we have developed special screens with a perfect ratio of size and functionality for maximum user-friendliness. This is customer orientation and digital thinking 2021!”