The new EQS: MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience)

MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) has radically simplified the operation of a Mercedes-Benz. Introduced in 2018 in the current A-Class, more than 1.8 million Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are now on the road with it, and the Vans 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 new EQS is already the next big step. With teachable software, the control and display concept completely adapts to its user and makes them personalised suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions. With the so-called zero-layer design, the user does not have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The key applications are always offered on the top level in the field of vision, depending on the situation and context. This means that numerous operating steps are taken care of for the EQS driver. With the "Online Music" service, Mercedes-Benz has now fully integrated the major music streaming services into the MBUX infotainment system.

Infotainment systems offer numerous and extensive functions. Several operating steps are often required to control them. In order to reduce these interactive steps even further, with the aid of artificial intelligence Mercedes-Benz has developed a user interface with context-sensitive awareness.

The MBUX system proactively displays the right functions at the right time for the user, supported by artificial intelligence. The context-sensitive awareness is constantly optimised, both by changes in the surroundings and by user behaviour. The so-called zero layer offers the user dynamic, aggregated content from the entire MBUX system, and thus the associated services, on the uppermost level of the MBUX information architecture.

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 with its full range of functions is therefore always in the centre of the visual display unit.

Over 20 other functions - from ENERGIZING COMFORT to birthday reminders to suggestions for the to-do list - are automatically offered with the help of artificial intelligence when they are relevant to the customer. The developers have internally christened these suggestion modules, which are displayed on the so-called zero-layer interface, "Magic Modules".

Here are five representative use cases. The user can accept or reject the respective suggestion with just one click:

  • When approaching a charging station that is enabled for Plug & Charge, the Magic Module 'Charging' automatically appears. The driver can then start charging immediately.
  • If someone always calls one particular friend on the way home on Tuesday evenings, in future they will always receive a suggestion regarding this particular call on this day of the week and at this time. A business card appears with their contact information and – if this is stored – their photo. All the suggestions from MBUX are coupled with the profile of the user. So if someone else drives the EQS on a Tuesday evening, this recommendation is not made – or there is another one, depending on the preferences of the other user in each case.
  • If the EQS driver regularly uses the massage function according to the hot-stone principle, the system automatically suggests the comfort function to them in wintry temperatures.
  • If the user regularly switches on the heating of the steering wheel in addition to the seat heating, for example, this is suggested to them as soon as they activates the seat heating.
  • The EQS's chassis can be raised in order to offer more ground clearance. A useful function for steep driveways or raised points on the ground for traffic calming ("sleeping policemen"). MBUX remembers the GPS position at which the user has made use of the "Vehicle Lift-Up" function. If the vehicle approaches this GPS position again, MBUX suggests raising of the EQS.

MBUX: a milestone as the interface between driver, passengers and vehicle
The EQS features the current MBUX generation, which celebrated its première in the new S-Class only a few months ago. As standard, the new model is equipped with a 12.3-inch driver display and a 12.8-inch central display in portrait orientation. The impressive MBUX Hyperscreen (see next chapter for details) is available as an option. There, the front passenger also has his or her own screen.

Face recognition with cameras in the driver display is used for a wide range of assistance and comfort functions. These include biometric authentication, ATTENTION ASSIST fatigue warning and adjusting the exterior mirrors to the pre-set position. Also on board as standard: a fingerprint scanner for driver authentication.

Hey Mercedes: the voice assistant can now do even more
Compared with the previous MBUX generation, the "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant is even more capable of dialogue and learning by activating online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword "Hey Mercedes". These include taking a telephone call.
"Hey Mercedes" now also explains vehicle functions, and can help for example when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where the first-aid kit can be found. Compatible home technology and household devices can also be networked with the vehicle thanks to the smart home function and controlled from the vehicle by voice. "Hey Mercedes" is now also able to recognise vehicle occupants by their voices. Once the individual characteristics of the voice have been learned, this can be used to access personal data and functions by activating a profile.

The voice assistant in the EQS can also be operated from the rear. In general, rear passengers experience the same comprehensive infotainment and comfort offerings as the driver and front passenger. They have up to three touchscreen displays and a wide range of intuitive operating options.

MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus: comfort like in the front row
Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers. Selection and amendment of navigation destinations is possible from the rear seats. The MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus comprises two 11.6-inch displays with touch controls on the backrests of the driver and front passenger seats. The MBUX rear tablet is also optionally available. As a fully fledged tablet, this can also be used outside the vehicle and (Android) apps can be installed. With this convenient remote control, all rear seat entertainment functions can be comfortably controlled from any seating position.

Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, the MBUX Interior Assistant recognises and anticipates the wishes and intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions. As well as enhancing operating convenience, the MBUX Interior Assistant improves safety. If it is switched on, the vehicle exit warning of Blind Spot Assist is already issued when a hand approaches the door handle. It can also detect a child seat on the front passenger seat and signal on the central display if the vehicle seat belt is not buckled. Also available in the EQS is the MBUX Interior Assistant Rear.

Online music: music streaming with millions of songs to choose from
With the "Online Music" service, Mercedes-Benz has now fully integrated the major music streaming services into the MBUX infotainment system. MBUX enables access to the personal user profile at the linked music providers. This allows customers to access their favourite songs and playlists seamlessly and discover millions of songs and curated playlists. Operation is intuitive using the MBUX voice assistant via "Hey Mercedes" and via touch controls on the steering wheel or central display.

Personalisation is simple and convenient
A personal profile can be created directly in EQS and synchronised with existing profile data of the Mercedes me account. By scanning a QR code with the Mercedes App, the vehicle is automatically connected to the Mercedes me account.

Personal preferences such as a favourite radio station and preselected settings can be transferred to any seat via the personal Mercedes me profile. Up to seven different profiles with a total of around 800 parameters are possible in the vehicle. The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote configuration, e.g. from home. As the profiles are stored in the cloud as part of Mercedes me, the profiles can also be used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the new MBUX generation.

In addition to the classic entry of a PIN, a special authentication procedure ensures a high level of security. Fingerprint, face and voice recognition are combined. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.