By Stefan Ortmanns
Technology and luxury have not always gone easily hand in hand. Luxury has even occasionally been seen as an escape from the ever-present technology of today. For example, the luxury cars of yesteryear were all sumptuous leather and wood highlights, without any interaction other than operating the vehicle. You can also think about luxury watches such as an Omega or Rolex that, while mechanical marvels, only need occasional maintenance as compared to an Apple Watch.
Today, that has changed. With the introduction of the new Mercedes S-Class and next-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), technology and luxury have come together like never before. This stunning system is receiving rave reviews from such publications as Car & Driver, Autobild and Motor Trend, and we at Cerence are honored to be a part of it.
The new MBUX makes the S-Class one of the most technologically advanced cars in the world from the perspective of driver and passenger interactions with the voice assistant. Here are some of the many innovation highlights:
• The new S-Class has four microphones that enable everyone in every seat to interact with MBUX, even in the back. So, if you are sitting behind the driver in the back seat and say, “open my window,” it just happens – because the system knows where it’s coming from.
• MBUX is also smart enough to suppress voices from other passengers in the car, like kids in the backseat, when the driver making a phone call.
Biometric Identification & Personalization
• The new S-Class has some of the most sophisticated personalization capabilities in a vehicle to date. It can identify who is speaking based on a memory of known speakers, all using their voices.
• This enables the car to activate a personalized profile that stores information about that speaker, such as favorite radio stations, personal navigation destinations, and the mirror and seat settings.
Easy to Talk to & Fluent in Many Languages
• Cerence is the leader in natural language understanding by voice assistants. So, you can easily chat with your S-Class without having to worry about particular phrasing. The voice assistant inherently will understand what you are getting at.
• MBUX also speaks 27 languages that can be set up based on your preference.
Fully Hybrid Solutions
• Now for some technology details. The next-gen MBUX is a fully hybrid system, which means technologies and functionalities are leveraged both locally in the vehicle and in the cloud.
• For example, some aspects are fully located in the car, like making phone calls, while others, such as finding a restaurant or parking, are synched with the cloud so they are fully up to date all the time. Features like navigation are developed with a hybrid embedded and cloud approach, so it’s always available – even in a parking garage with limited connectivity – and always up to date with the latest cloud content like traffic information.
It truly is an iconic technological marvel that still has a human and personal feel. With all its modern-day innovations, the S-Class – a stalwart in the Mercedes-Benz lineup for decades – still has Gottlieb Daimler’s signature of approval on the windshield.