February 28, 2023
Angry Birds, TikTok and Zoom conferencing are all on the menu for owners of the next E-Class as Mercedes promises to take the idea of the connected car to the next level.
The German automaker has released the first pictures and details of what to expect from the cabin of the new sedan, due on sale later this year.
And it’s clear from the images that the in-car experience will be dominated by what’s on offer on the new MBUX Superscreen, courtesy of 5G data connectivity and a powerful new central processor.
Despite its name, the Superscreen consists of three screens – a digital instrument cluster and an optional display for the front-seat passenger, plus a larger central display. The passenger display only activates when someone is sitting on the seat and can show TV or streaming content.
Cleverly, though, a feature called “visual shield” prevents the driver from being distracted by the passenger screen. It reduces visibility from the driver’s seat by dimming the light of the screen, aided by a camera at the top of the dashboard that monitors if they are paying attention to the road. If you’re so inclined, it can also be used for selfies when the car is stationary.
An extensive entertainment package will be offered, facilitated by the fact that third-party apps are now available. And the breadth of what is on offer at launch is quite extraordinary, reinforcing how software is redefining the in-car experience for occupants.
Perhaps the headline act is the availability of TikTok for the first time in a car. While the thought of E-Class owners filming videos using the selfie camera and uploading them to TikTok may seem unlikely, the app’s appearance in a Mercedes does demonstrate the importance of the Chinese market to the German automaker.
There’s also the ever-popular game Angry Birds, the Vivaldi web browser, Webex and Zoom conference calling, plus the Zync entertainment portal. Further partners and channels will continually be integrated, according to Mercedes.
Another highlight promises to be the introduction of what Mercedes calls “artificial intelligence-generated routines,” where the car learns the habits of the driver and provides suggestions on, for example, preferred ventilation, heating and massage settings for the seating. It also allows customers to set up “templates” with the help of AI; Mercedes suggested an example where the owner could create a ”date night” setting and the car would respond with romantic music played via Bluetooth audio, and pink ambient lighting.
If all this sounds rather futuristic, it’s worth remembering it’s based on Mercedes’ current version of software tech. The company has already revealed its plans for an even more advanced, next-generation operating system called MB.OS, developed in-house with partners such as Google, Nvidia and Luminar.
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