At the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show 2024 (CES 2024), Mercedes-Benz has showcased a glimpse of its upcoming MB.OS software, which will feature the next-generation of the MBUX Virtual Assistant, and it will be seen first on the production version of the Concept CLA, built on the MMA platform. With artificial intelligence being the flavor of the ongoing CES, Mercedes-Benz too has cashed in on the opportunity, as its next-gen Virtual Assistant will feature generative AI and a language model.
While the MBUX Assistant today responds to language prompts, the next-gen Assistant running on MB.OS will be able to provide suggestions by learning driver behaviour and understanding the situation at hand. Examples include playing the latest news in the morning or initiating a preferred massage programme at the end of the working day. And if the driver is running late for a meeting entered into the calendar, the system can offer to dial in directly from the car. If the driver wishes, these processes can also be automated. The experience can be further augmented through incorporation of the vehicle’s ambient lighting and sound system. For example, warm light and soft music can accompany a relaxing massage.
MB.OS is said to combine all the functions of the Virtual Assistant into a single entity, which, combined with the generative AI and language model, will create a human-like interactive experience for customers with their cars. The Assistant will feature four ‘personality traits’, such as natural, predictive, personal, and empathetic. Mercedes-Benz claims the effect is more like having a conversation with a friend; you can ask the assistant general knowledge questions, as well as highly intelligent questions to clarify intent and come to conclusions. If you’re having a rough day, it’ll even offer you empathy (can I sign up?!)
The face of this assistant is a star-like avatar present in the centre portion of the display, powered by Unity’s game engine. This avatar uses 3D animations to express different moods, and the assistant also makes use of 3D navigation, which means you’ll be able to see buildings, surrounding vehicles, roads, traffic etc in real time on your screen. Third-party apps such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, booking.com, video streaming via Sony’s RIDEVU, and music streaming via Amazon Music will also be available among other things.
The new MB.OS will be first seen on the production version of the Concept CLA Class, built on the MMA Architecture, which is set to make its debut sometime this year, and it will be available in both ICE and EV forms.