What Is the Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen?

With a name like MBUX Hyperscreen, the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) sounds like a big deal. And it is.

Mercedes Benz Hyperscreen

Measuring 56 inches across, the Mercedes Hyperscreen represents the second-generation MBUX interface executed on a grand scale. Like the original MBUX, it will use artificial intelligence, but this version will be a quicker study of driver preferences and routines.

The all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan will be the first Mercedes to get the MBUX Hyperscreen when it debuts later in 2021.

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Mercedes-Benz’s chief designer Gorden Wagener refers to the MBUX Hyperscreen as “a digital piece of art, a futuristic, luxurious sculpture and also a huge technological challenge.” His description is apt. (Mercedes-Benz USA has released an introductory video to help you get a feel for it.)

See, the Hyperscreen is a thing of beauty. On the surface, it’s an expanse of curved glass, but it’s more elegant than any curved computer monitor. The glass is heated to 650 degrees Celsius during the molding process, says Mercedes, and the curvature ensures distortion-free viewing from anywhere in the vehicle.

It’s double-coated to reduce reflections and simplify cleaning, and the glass incorporates aluminum silicate to resist scratches.

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Underneath the glass, you have both the instrument panel and the central touchscreen infotainment display, along with a separate touchscreen display for the front passenger. Both touchscreens use OLED technology to render images, and there are 12 actuators for haptic feedback.

Many current Mercedes-Benz models have a fully digital gauge cluster, but the MBUX Hyperscreen includes updated instrumentation specific to EVs. Mercedes has created animations to help EQS drivers visualize electricity flow between the battery pack and the front and rear electric motors during both acceleration and energy regeneration.

There’s also something called an “EQ puck” that uses a flying saucer animation to depict varying g-force as the car goes around turns. It looks whimsical, but we have a hard time imagining how this particular display wouldn’t be a distraction.

Unlike previous versions of MBUX, the Hyperscreen has no physical buttons or dials surrounding it, which adds to its slick look. The circular air vents are the only old-world element integrated into the design.

So, the future is here. And it looks gorgeous. But will you enjoy using the Mercedes-Benz Hyperscreen while you’re driving, or will it drive you nuts? That is the main technological challenge as we see it.

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Mercedes says its engineers have learned plenty about driver behavior and artificial intelligence since the launch of MBUX. The original version is currently used in 1.8 million vehicles worldwide, according to Mercedes.

The company says drivers spend the most time using navigation, radio/media, and phone functions. So, in Hyperscreen-equipped versions of the new EQS sedan, the navigation map display will always be at the center of the infotainment display for ease of access.

Mercedes also uses what it calls a “zero-layer” approach to place essential functions at your fingertips. 

“The most important and most commonly used interactions can be operated on a single, top-level,” says Wagener. “You rarely have to dive into submenus and thus shorten the interaction time.”

In addition, if the system’s AI notices you’re doing certain tasks at specific times –

such as calling a certain number in your contacts, raising the suspension every time you encounter a particular driveway, or ordering up a hot-stone massage from the multi-contour seats on cold days – it will make suggestions about relevant functions ahead of time. Or it might place other functions in the background if it notices you’re not using them.

The Mercedes-Benz MBUX Hyperscreen will also use its AI to assess driving conditions and the EQS sedan’s state of battery charge to assist with route planning.

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Since the EQS is intended for long-distance travel, Mercedes prioritizes keeping the front passenger comfortable and entertained.

The MBUX Hyperscreen’s front-passenger touchscreen display is only active when someone is in that seat. The system stores up to seven profiles for this interface, and occupants will see all primary vehicle functions, including navigation information and climate controls, but will not have the power to override the driver’s choices. Likewise, the display is situated so that the driver cannot see it from the driver’s seat.

The front passenger will have the authority to manage entertainment for the EQS’s occupants and can share entertainment content with others in the car who are using connected devices.

In some markets, the MBUX Hyperscreen will allow the front passenger to watch videos while the car is moving, but this function likely will be disabled in the United States.

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Until recently, automakers could install an oversize touchscreen in or on the dashboard and call it a cutting-edge design. But many of those interfaces were, and are, frustrating to use while driving. If Mercedes-Benz can combine an expansive and attractive touchscreen interface with truly useful artificial intelligence, the MBUX Hyperscreen would set a new benchmark.