Mercedes-Benz at CES 2016
Mercedes-Benz is the pioneer when it comes to digitalisation in the automotive industry
by John Clark | 07 January 2016
Mercedes-Benz is the pioneer when it comes to digitalisation in the automotive industry. Under the motto “It’s all about me”, visitors heading to the Mercedes exhibition stand are able to immerse themselves in the individual world of Mercedes me and discover just how Mercedes-Benz combines the requirements of modern mobility with digital life – from connected vehicles with digital lifestyle offerings, to the intelligent car of the future. Exclusively, in advance of the world premiere in Detroit, CES visitors can also experience the innovative cockpit of the upcoming new E-Class which is set to herald an all new era in digitalisation – with high-resolution visualisations and animations, touch-sensitive control and also smartphone integration with capacitive aerial coupling and wireless charging. An insight into the future of the User Interface and User Experience Design, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the “Concept Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile” show car.
“The future belongs to the digital car in which people are the point of focus,” according to Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the board of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Unlike any other automotive manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz is making successful inroads into the intelligent networking of the car and the individual living environment of the driver. As part of this, Mercedes me is the interactive interface between people, vehicle and the Mercedes-Benz brand. At the CES we are enabling visitors to experience all of this under the motto ‘It’s all about me’.”
Mercedes me: new benchmark for individual customer contact
For this reason, Mercedes-Benz has designed this year’s CES exhibition stand as a temporary Mercedes me pop-up store. As a result, visitors can discover and experience the diverse world of Mercedes me.
With this CES premier of Mercedes me, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the digital access to the personalised world of Mercedes-Benz for the US market. During the course of the year, in Europe and soon in Asia, the brand with the star is set to be accessible and active on the net at any time for customers and other interested parties. Visitors will also be able to get an impression at the CES: the range of services offered via the internet portal (http://mercedes.me) extends from electronic appointment arrangement for the classic service, via individual networking with the customer’s own vehicle and right through to the provision of tailor-made financial services. In addition, customers and interested parties will find a host of products and services which go far beyond being relevant for just their own vehicle. The entire offering is not just digital, however, but can also be experienced in the real world – in the actual Mercedes me stores. Five stores have already been opened since 2014, which have developed into hotspots for lifestyle and culture. Another Mercedes me store is also opening its doors temporarily in Las Vegas during the CES to present its comprehensive range of products and services.
Mercedes me connect – networking with my vehicle
One focal point is the networked vehicle. In the new Mercedes-AMG GT S und Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé, show visitors can learn all about the wide range of Mercedes me connect services, from Standard Services such as the automatic emergency call system through to the Remote Online Services. Via an app, information on the vehicle status can be accessed, the auxiliary heater programmed or the doors remotely opened and locked. One highlight of the Mercedes me App is convenient Door-to-Door Navigation.
Sneak preview of the infotainment system of the new E-Class
Another key point of interest is the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which will be celebrating its world premiere in just a few days time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With this intelligent executive saloon, Mercedes-Benz is heralding a new era in networking and digitalisation. Visitors to the CES can learn all there is to know about the innovative infotainment system exclusively in advance. It marks a milestone in the transformation of the classic control and display concept into the Digital User Experience.
Alongside the familiar controls such as the user interaction elements such as the controller, touchpad, switches and LINGUATRONIC voice control, the new E-Class is the world’s first vehicle to feature touch control on a multifunction steering wheel. The two panels are touch sensitive like the surface of a smartphone and by using horizontal and vertical swiping movements it is possible to scroll through the menus of the instrument cluster and the central display. The selected function is activated by pressing down. In this way the entire infotainment system can be controlled in a logical, intuitive and ergonomically ideal way within the smallest amount of space – without the driver taking their hands off the steering wheel. Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker to offer such a system within a car.
“Given the growing degree of networking of vehicles, the control and visualisation of all functions are becoming increasingly important. Whether we are talking multimedia, assistance systems or autonomous driving – it is becoming more and more about how drivers and other vehicle occupants experience networking both in and outside of the vehicle. This includes not only the functionality but also the display design,” explains Daimler board member Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber.
In the upcoming new E-Class, Mercedes-Benz is introducing the first fully digital instrument cluster with a resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. It opens up previously unknown possibilities for presenting information to the driver. For the first time high-resolution visualisations and animations are possible which provide a completely new experience. Thanks to the animated presentation of information, the functionality of the assistance systems and the DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes, for example, can be understood more intuitively by the driver and therefore experienced even better. The screen design of the instrument cluster can be selected individually from among three different styles: “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”.
Technology at its finest: smartphone integration in the new E-Class
Everyone wants to be able to charge their smartphone wirelessly, as this eliminates the burden of looking for a plug and also the irritating cables. Mercedes-Benz will make this technology already available today for its customers of the new E-Class, in which it additionally enables capacitive aerial coupling. By simply placing the device on the charging area on the front part of the centre console, the smartphone connects to the multimedia system via Near Field Communication (NFC). The inductive charging area (153×90 mm) is suitable for all mobile devices, which support the Qi standard. There is another advantage: while using Near Field Communication, the customer’s smartphone becomes the digital vehicle key with which the car can be locked and unlocked as well as started. The new E-Class also supports Apple’s in-car infotainment system CarPlay®, as well Google’s smartphone-based infotainment system Android Auto™.
Digital transformer featuring the Hollywood experience
A further highlight on the Mercedes-Benz CES stand is the show car – the “Concept Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile” – which is celebrating its US market premiere here in Las Vegas. Presented to the public for the first time at the IAA International Motor Show 2015 in Frankfurt, it provides a glimpse of the further development of the User Interface and User Experience Design. For the first time in the industry, this vehicle study brings graphics and animations on a par with the quality of Hollywood films into the car. Together with The Foundry, one of the leading creative software developers for film and video production and the latest NVIDIA DRIVE™ automotive visual computing platform, Mercedes-Benz is showing 3D renderings in real time in the car. The result is a visual experience like in the cinema, which visitors to the Mercedes-Benz CES exhibition stand are able to experience live..
The “Concept Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile” is a digital transformer, which by way of example demonstrates the fundamental technological changes occurring in the automotive industry. The vehicle automatically changes its shape from a four-door coupé in city traffic to an aerodynamic world record breaker with a Cd value of 0.19 from 80 km/h (50 mph). The concept also provides an insight into the digital car of the future: digitally developed and produced, and comprehensively networked with the outside world. With the upcoming new E-Class, parts of this visionary concept are already becoming reality – for example the touch control on the steering wheel and the digital cockpit.
Machine Learning at Mercedes-Benz
A new generation of Mercedes-Benz Companion App for iPhone® and Apple Watch® is launched at CES for the US Market. In addition to its Door-to-Door Navigation, this new App uses Machine Learning to provide a personalized User Experience by learning from customers’ actions and their environment. At any time, the App presents to customers the most likely destination they might want to go to then pushes such destination to the COMAND system. Mercedes-Benz Companion App ushers a new era of Contextual Intelligence in which infotainment systems automatically adapt to customers habits, adjust to their environment and evolve with their digital lifestyle.
Interested visitors to the Mercedes-Benz stand also have the opportunity to enter into dialogue with the specialists. Mercedes experts in the areas of Mercedes me, the digital vehicle, contextual intelligence and also autonomous driving plus augmented and/or virtual reality will be on hand to provide a look behind the scenes in a series of presentations. For those who are interested but unable to attend in person, the presentations and subsequent discussion sessions will be streamed live on the internet.