Mercedes-Benz debuts new music technology, AI-powered virtual assistant at CES 2024

2024 Mercedes-Benz Interior Running Sound Drive | Manufacturer Image

Written by Steph Schrader

January 9, 2024

By using cutting-edge technology, Mercedes-Benz wants to make interactions with its cars more natural and immersive. The automaker announced several in-vehicle technology upgrades today at the Consumer Electronics Show 2024 in Las Vegas, including a virtual assistant powered by generative artificial intelligence and a new Sound Drive audio experience coming soon to new vehicles. . Additionally, new partnerships with Audible and Amazon Music give Mercedes customers additional ways to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on the go.

Related: More coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show

CES 2024 marks the first appearance of Mercedes’ concept CLA-Class in North America, following its debut at the IAA Mobility Show in Germany in September. The concept previews the new Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS for short), which will serve as the backbone of all interfaces in future vehicles built on the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture platform. It works. The MMA platform was designed first and foremost for electric vehicles, so it will underpin four new models as the company unveils more new EVs. Mercedes has launched the Concept CLA-Class with a range of more than 466 miles on a single charge (based on European testing standards, which are generally higher than EPA estimates) and an ultra-efficient battery consumption of 8.2 miles per kilowatt-hour. It describes it as a hypermiler with a lot of weight. .

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class | Manufacturer Image

Mercedes also unveiled its new MBUX virtual assistant, which uses generative AI and 3D graphics from MB.OS to further personalize the interaction between the user and the car. The operating system uses the Unity game engine to generate high-resolution graphics that match the responses of the MBUX virtual assistant and utilizes a screen that spans the entire concept dashboard.

Mercedes-Benz claims the latest version of its “Hey Mercedes” calling system is the most natural-sounding, human-like virtual assistant ever. While there is no computer system that can actually feel or think for itself, Mercedes says its MBUX virtual assistant has four different “personality traits” to give the vehicle’s occupants empathetic-seeming reactions. ” is claimed to exist. Natural, predictive, personal, empathetic. That predictive response can be learned from situational context and other inputs, and the generated response can guide what tone the car’s voice uses to respond.

Avatar of the Mercedes-Benz “Living Star” in the center of the dashboard of the Concept CLA-Class | Manufacturer image

The MBUX virtual assistant’s “emotions” are also reflected in its animated “living star avatars” that express different moods, including calm and excited. Animations of varying intensity and movement make it appear as if the car avatar is listening, thinking, talking, or even issuing a warning. Of course, just in case computer-generated “empathy” isn’t your style, drivers can also adjust the system to their liking in the system settings.

Such graphical tricks allow the car to perform even more useful functions. This system’s surround navigation uses the car’s large screen to visualize in real time what the car’s systems are “seeing” through its various sensors and cameras, and combines it with route his guidance and driving assistance. .

Visualize what the Compact CLA-Class Concept does in traffic | Manufacturer images

New features coming soon

However, not everything Mercedes-Benz is showing off at CES is a preview of its new MMA platform. The automaker’s new MBUX Sound Drive system is one of the features available through over-the-air updates in new Mercedes-Benz vehicles from mid-2024. MBUX Sound Drive allows your car’s sound system to react to the car’s driving conditions. According to Mercedes, acceleration, brake regeneration, turning, and more are converted into sound, turning the car into one big musical instrument.

For those with a more pragmatic automotive wish list, Mercedes also announces a partnership with Amazon Music and Audible that will take full advantage of Mercedes vehicles’ Dolby Atmos audio technology for an improved listening experience Did. Atmos adds a height channel to your surround sound system. This means that items flying overhead in your audio track will sound more realistic and believable. Dolby Atmos is integrated into Mercedes’ Burmester 4D and 3D systems, which are already available as an option on the current generation of his MBUX infotainment system.

Using sound drive | Manufacturer image

This new partnership with Amazon, and specifically Audible, the company’s voice audio division, marks the first time that Dolby Atmos can be used in voice audio in Mercedes cars. Audible and Amazon Music are included as apps on his MBUX infotainment system, making accessing Atmos-enabled audio as easy as possible. Not all of Audible’s roughly 850,000 audiobooks and podcasts are designed for Dolby Atmos, but the dozens of titles that are designed for Dolby Atmos should at least sound really, really good. .

New Mercedes-Benz E-Class and CLE vehicles equipped with the third-generation MBUX infotainment system will have the ability to play Dolby Atmos audio stories as an over-the-air update scheduled for Q3 of 2024, and then further It will be widely deployed. The automaker says Amazon Music with Dolby Atmos will be available on some models produced after December 2023 and equipped with the second-generation MBUX system.

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News Editor Steph Schrader joined in 2024, but began her career in automotive journalism in 2013. She currently owns a Porsche 944 and a Volkswagen 411, which are race cars, and a Mitsubishi Lancer GTS, which is not a race car (although she sometimes drives it on the track anyway). Ask her about the Fisher-Price puffer lamp.Email Steph Schrader

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