What is Mercedes MBUX?

When Mercedes-Benz introduced the subcompact A-Class sedan to the U.S. market, it used the new model, the most affordable vehicle in its lineup, to launch Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) technology. Since then, with each major vehicle refresh or redesign, Mercedes adds MBUX to its vehicles. Depending on the model and its price point, MBUX offers different features and functions, but they all have one thing in common: artificial intelligence.

Mercedes MBUX 2021 E-Class

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Combining digital instrumentation and a touchscreen infotainment system in a single black-panel display, MBUX employs artificial intelligence to make your life easier. The technology learns your habits and preferences over time and responds to natural voice queries similar to smartphone assistants like Siri and smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa. Prompt the system with “Hey, Mercedes” and follow-up with a request.

For example, you could say: “Hey, Mercedes, I want some coffee.” The navigation system will help you find and get directions to a coffee shop, or a coffee shop that sells your favorite kind. Similarly, you could say: “Hey, Mercedes, I’m too cold.” The MBUX system will increase the climate control system temperature to warm the cabin and activate the seat heaters.

In addition to the touchscreen and “Hey, Mercedes” voice prompt, you can interact with MBUX by using touch-sensing buttons on the steering wheel that support scroll, swipe, and select functions. There is a touchpad on the center console, too, complete with handwriting recognition technology. 

Some versions have an MBUX Interior Assistant function with movement recognition technology that triggers a predictive response to help make the technology more natural to use. 

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Most implementations of MBUX use dual 10.25-inch high-definition displays offering what Mercedes-Benz characterizes as “emotional presentations in the form of brilliant graphics.” The company is not resorting to hyperbole. Once you’ve driven a car or SUV equipped with a high-end version of MBUX, most other modern digital instrumentation and infotainment experiences pale in comparison.

Vehicle owners can alter the instrumentation theme, choosing between Classic, Sport, and Progressive visualizations of information. In AMG models, a Supersport theme is available, along with functions like a race-timer, a G-meter, key engine data, and more.

Even the most basic versions of MBUX, like what comes standard in the A-Class, include Bluetooth with music streaming, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and HD Radio. Depending on the vehicle and equipment, upgrades include Near Field Communication (NFC) Bluetooth pairing, satellite radio, TuneIn radio, a navigation system, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

With navigation, MBUX uses augmented reality technology to help drivers find an address. Using a forward-facing camera, a video view of what’s ahead is shown on the infotainment screen, and the augmented reality technology superimposes navigation instructions on the video to show you cross-street names and exactly where you’re supposed to turn. Once you’re getting close to your destination, this view can also show house and business numbers. 

Look for more Mercedes-Benz models to adopt MBUX technology in the future. And hey, Mercedes, nice job.

The information in this article is from Mercedes-Benz and was accurate as of May 28, 2020. It may have changed since that date.