At CES 2018, Daimler premiered its new multimedia system, MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), which later entered production in the new A-Class. While technology usually enters the top of the line, then trickles down to lower range, higher volume cars, with MBUX the company is innovating at the entry-level.

Development partner Harman International helped the automaker accomplish this with leading-edge technology including the first-ever use of augmented reality (AR) navigation. The system provides turn-by-turn directions with AR visuals. A video image of the surroundings taken with the front camera is augmented with navigation information for such features as arrows or house numbers that are superimposed directly onto the touchscreen image—making it easier for the driver to search for a certain house number.

The new system is also intended to help prepare for Levels 3-5 automated driving by providing a visualization for navigation and communicating vehicle autonomy to occupants. This will help former self-drivers ease into their role as passengers. In a self-driving situation, the feature would eliminate the abstract map all together to show occupants what the car is about to do next—such as make a turn, accelerate, brake, switch lanes, or merge.

The MBUX navigation is also enhanced with Here Technologies map data designed to predict destinations in advance, suggest points of interest, and navigate to the next filling station as well as function as onboard navigation when there is no online connection. Other aspects of the MBUX system include a high-resolution widescreen cockpit with touchscreen operation and intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated with the keywords, "Hey Mercedes."


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