Coming to the A-Class this spring
When you think of the Consumer Electronics Show, you may picture wild concept cars whose technologies we won’t see for quite some time. But Mercedes is showing off a new infotainment system that leverages artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and it should enter production this year.
The infotainment system will make its way into the entire compact car generation from Mercedes, including the new A-Class that arrives this spring. Mercedes previewed the A-Class interior late last year, but now the company is giving us more details on what to expect when the new system rolls out.
It may be an entry-level model, but that doesn’t mean Mercedes scrimped on technology for the A-Class. Like other new Mercedes, it features a wide screen as well as touch control buttons on the steering wheel. For the first time, the main screen can be operated by touch instead of just a touchpad on the center console. The A-Class features a newly redesigned touchpad, but it’s just one option of how to navigate the menus.
Mercedes will offer the cockpit screens in three different configurations comprising the instrument cluster and infotainment system: two 7-inch displays, a 7-inch display and a 10.25-inch display, and two 10.25 inch displays. It also includes a voice control system with natural language recognition, capable of learning new words. To command the vehicle to do something, users can simply say “Hey Mercedes.” The system is set up to accommodate over-the-air updates to keep it fresh.
The new system can learn a driver’s preferences via artificial intelligence. The system becomes attune to the driver’s specific voice and can provide suggestions based on habits exhibited in the driver. If the navigation system detects a route frequently driven, the navigation will start to that location, or if the driver regularly listens to a particular radio station at a certain time, it will switch over to that station at the proper time.
Along with sleek graphics, 3D renderings, and animations, augmented reality technology has also been incorporated into the infotainment system. The front camera takes a video image of the car’s surroundings. To help drivers find a particular house number more easily or take the correct off-ramp, pictures of arrows and house numbers are superimposed automatically onto the touchscreen image.
With Mercedes me connected services, drivers can remotely lock and unlock their cars with their smartphones. Not only that, but the service can locate the vehicle in a parking garage or send warnings if it has been hit or towed on the street.