Amsterdam has it all this week.
More canals than Venice. More bikes than people. And a new Mercedes-Benz with more brains than any other automobile, thanks to its NVIDIA-powered AI cockpit.
Overlooking the city’s iconic waterfront, the ultra-hip Noord district played host Friday to more than 500 journalists who gathered to witness the launch of the 2019 model Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
The new A-Class is the first to offer the Mercedes-Benz User Experience — or “MBUX” — infotainment system. MBUX aims to reinvent the cockpit experience using rich, real-time 3D graphics and artificial intelligence powered by NVIDIA.
“Our mission was to take the user experience to a new level,” explained Ola Källenius, board member for group research and Mercedes-Benz car development. “To do this, we chose the best technology available to bring AI into the car and created a completely new user experience from the ground up.”
Dual Screens, Screaming Compute Performance
The result is MBUX, a system that combines natural language processing, silky-smooth 3D graphics and an augmented reality boosted navigation system to bring new levels of intuitive interaction and safety to the vehicle. To achieve this, Mercedes selected NVIDIA technology with the highest compute performance any automaker has ever shipped in an infotainment system.
Updatable over the air, MBUX holds additional computational capabilities in reserve, enabling new applications to be deployed over the life of the vehicle. As speech and AI applications evolve, MBUX will be able to add new features and become a better mobile assistant.
“The car is a learning system,” Källenius said. “It’s like a very good butler — the more you use it, the better it knows and anticipates your preferences.”
A Car That Understands You
AI-powered natural language processing will also help make interacting with the vehicle more natural — and safer — than ever before. MBUX understands indirect speech — instead of responding only to set phrases such as “raise temperature,” the car understands things people really say, like “I’m cold. Make it warmer in here.”
“Natural language with AI will be the preferred method of interacting with the car,” said Georges Massing, Daimler AG’s director of user interaction. “That’s because speech is the easiest — and safest — way to interact.”
Coming to a Mercedes Near You
The MBUX system will be a standard feature in the compact A-Class model, which will enter series production this spring. The system will come in three display versions: two 7-inch; one 7-inch and one 10.25-inch; or two 10.25-inch displays.
While MBUX will debut in the A-Class, which caters to Mercedes’ youngest customers, the automaker plans to roll out this user experience across its entire vehicle line-up.
Amsterdam may have it all this week, but soon Mercedes-Benz owners will, too.