Mercedes-Benz announced updates to it software user-interface and software UI for the E-Class.
Customizable UI design
The main icons on the central and optional passenger displays are now simpler and color-coded to match smartphone tiles. This enables the driver to recognize them even more intuitively.
With two display styles (Classic and Sporty) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service), the driver display can be individualized. In the “Classic” style, the driver is greeted by the familiar display layout with the look of two dial instruments. Varying content with vehicle-related information is displayed between the two dials.
The “Sporty” style is dominated by the color red, with a dynamically designed central tachometer. A holistically impressive color experience is created in the interior by the optional seven color themes of the ambient lighting.
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: in-car apps13
- Third-party apps optimized for a better user experience
- Popular apps such as TikTok and Zoom, among others14
- Part of the optional Entertainment package, apps can be downloaded directly in the E-Class
Until now, apps found their way into the car mainly by being mirrored from the user’s smartphone into the infotainment system through Apple Car Play or Android Auto, which allows some functions of the mobile device to be used on the central and passenger display while the car is moving. The software experts at Mercedes-Benz have developed a new compatibility layer that allows the installation of third-party apps.
For example, the driver can use the vehicle’s own selfie and video camera for the collaboration app Webex and video conferencing app Zoom15. To avoid driver distraction, image transmission is not activated while driving.
The new software architecture ensures apps will find their way into the vehicle much more quickly in the future. A new App Store has been integrated into the Mercedes me Store, with a gradually expanding portfolio of apps, meaning the E-Class remains up-to-date and can be extensively personalized.
The following apps are part of the portfolio at the launch of the new E-Class:
- Angry Birds
- Webex by Cisco cloud-based collaboration solutions
- Zoom video conferencing
- Vivaldi web browser
The entertainment portal ZYNC is also on board. On a user interface on the central and available passenger displays, it offers video streaming, on-demand content, interactive experiences, local video programs, sports, news and much more. More than 30 streaming services from well-known global, regional and local partners are already available, while further partners and channels are continually being integrated.
Intelligent image filtering
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: visual shield function of the passenger screen
- Further improved concept reduces the risk of driver distraction
- Front passenger can still see dynamic content on the screen
- Free audio enjoyment without the use of headphones
The front passenger can watch dynamic content such as streaming video on the display during a journey while the driver is protected from distraction. The camera-based system in the E-Class uses an advanced filtering concept to ensure the content on the screen is not visible to the driver. This has been verified in extensive trials with test subjects. In addition, the system allows free audio enjoyment of dynamic content without the need for headphones.
The concept works in two stages: first, the seat occupancy recognition system registers whether the seat next to the driver is occupied. If this is the case, the touch surface of the display can be used via MBUX from the passenger seat while the vehicle is moving. If the front passenger seat is not occupied, the screen becomes a digital decorative feature for which the customer can choose various motifs like a night sky with the Mercedes-Benz pattern.
The passenger display’s dual light control (DLC) technology prevents dynamic content such as video from being seen peripherally by the person behind the wheel. This visual shield function developed by Mercedes-Benz can be switched on and off. Based on the content, the system can thus switch the visibility for the driver on or off.
A camera (either in the driver’s display or on the dashboard, depending on the equipment) also records the driver’s eye movements. The intelligent system can detect whether the eyes are looking at the front passenger screen. This takes into account, for example, how the driver steers and how often and for how long they look over to the passenger side. If necessary, the brightness of the passenger screen is reduced and the passenger can therefore continue to view content while it is not visible to the driver. This reduces
Artificial intelligence will relieve the burden of everyday processes in the future
The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class: routines
- Allows the E-Class to adapt to personal habits
- Templates and self-created routines support tasks during everyday driving
- In the next stage of development, AI-generated routines for the driver will follow
Stop at the company gate shortly before 8 o’clock in the morning, lower the side window and present your company pass to be allowed to drive onto the premises – many people start their work day like this. There are also recurring processes during leisure time. For example, on Tuesday evenings after tennis practice the seat heating is always switched on when returning home. These are just two of the many applications where Mercedes-Benz wants to make everyday tasks easier for its customers with the help of so-called routines16.
At launch of the 2024 E-Class, the following options will be available:
- Templates: With the help of these templates, customers can experiment with the basic types of support that is possible with the help of artificial intelligence. Examples include “Cold Days” (switching on the seat heating at a certain outside temperature, ambient lighting changes to warm orange) or “Date Night” (romantic music is played via Bluetooth audio, ambient lighting turns rose-colored). The templates are operated via the vehicle’s central display and are arranged in carousel-style on the screen.
- Self-created routines: Conditions can be linked to an action on the central display. For example, “Switch on the seat heating and set the ambient lighting to warm orange if the interior temperature is below 50 degrees.” The driver can even assign a name to such self‑created routines, such as “Warm me up.” Under this chosen name, the routine then appears on the screen under the menu item “My routines” and can be activated there. This routine category can be recognized by the blue tab in the menu bar. Routines can be created and edited in the vehicle, on the central display or from home using the Mercedes me connect app.
- AI-generated routines16: In the future, the goal is for the E-Class to fully automate routine tasks, if desired, with Artificial intelligence (AI). The vehicle’s ability to learn and evolve with the customer will represent a new level of intelligence. In the first stage of expansion, Mercedes-Benz will offer AI-generated routines for the driver and the seating system (ventilation, heating, massage). Other interior systems are to be successively integrated and further routines made possible.
Equally adaptive: in-app suggestions and “Magic Modules”
Mercedes-Benz already uses AI as part of MBUX: the apps for navigation, radio and phone suggest actions. These are based on how likely an application is to be used and include the suggestion of a specific phone number or navigation destination. More than 20 additional functions – from ENERGIZING COMFORT to birthday reminders to suggestions for a to-do list – are offered automatically with the help of AI, if they are relevant to the particular customer. Internally, the developers refer to these as “Magic Modules.” They are displayed on the zero-layer interface of MBUX.
With the “Just Talk” function, the intelligent voice control can now be activated without the keyword “Hey Mercedes.” When the function is activated, a red microphone symbol appears in the display to indicate that the vehicle is ready and waiting for commands such as “Navigate me home” or “Please turn on seat heating.” Furthermore, with the voice control, several commands can now be linked by “and.”
New features of the ENERGIZING COACH in the E-Class include the integration of additional wearables and expansion of the vital data shown in the central display18. The ENERGIZING COACH is based on an intelligent algorithm. It recommends the Freshness, Warmth, Vitality or Joy program depending on the situation and individual. If compatible wearables are integrated, vital data such as stress level or quality of sleep optimize the accuracy of the recommendation. The Mercedes me ENERGIZING app transmits the vital data to the ENERGIZING COACH via smartwatch. The respective comfort program can be started directly via a notification in the MBUX system to help ensure the driver feels well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys. In addition to pulse and stress level, the number of steps taken per day and calories burned are now also shown on the central display.
Mercedes-Benz will also expand ENERGIZING COACH with a bio-feedback function. Front passengers can then reduce high stress levels by performing breathing exercises during a journey. The program provides detailed and interactive guidance. The ideal inhalation and exhalation intervals are indicated on the central display with the help of the bio-feedback. Feedback supports the six-second breathing phases. The bio-feedback can also include adjustment of the backrest angle, a light cone in the Active Ambient Lighting and a wave sound.