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Mercedes-Benz’ Coming MB.OS System: When the Car Speaks (For Real)

The MB.OS system from Mercedes-Benz | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
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Alain McKenna
The new multimedia platform will be in service for 2025 model-year vehicles.

MB.OS. It’s not a name that rolls off the tongue exactly. But get used to it, because MB.OS is the new multimedia platform Mercedes-Benz is readying to install in its vehicles starting with the 2025 model-year. 

Its interface, which will be called, simply, Mercedes, will have very human emotions, from serious to funny to emotional. It relies on generative AI to embody Mercedes, a particularly intuitive voice command. The German brand hopes to redefine the in-car user experience, nothing less.

The all-new MB.OS system from Mercedes-Benz
The all-new MB.OS system from Mercedes-Benz | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Operating System 
Some of you will have guessed: MB.OS is the abbreviation used by the German automaker to refer to its new technology, the Mercedes-Benz Operating System. This system combines the hardware and software needed to bring different information and entertainment applications to life on board Mercedes-Benz vehicles, whether or not they are connected to the Internet.

It's a scalable platform, meaning that the manufacturer can remotely transmit “Over the Air” updates to keep it up to date. The platform is intended to be a relatively open software environment on which applications and services of all kinds can coexist. For example, even if Apple and Google's CarPlay and Android Auto connected phone interfaces are not natively integrated into MB.OS, there's nothing to prevent these applications from being installed later.

Moreover, Mercedes-Benz promises that its system will be open and can accommodate applications created by third parties, such as video games or online shopping applications. While not confirming that MB.OS is based entirely on the open Android platform, a company spokesperson did indicate that third-party applications designed for MB.OS will probably run on Android.

Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS)
Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS) | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

On-demand applications
No surprise, Mercedes-Benz plans to add an applications and services store to its MB.OS system. The aim is to offer both free and subscription-based services. The automaker will seek to strike a balance between what it would be normal to offer for free - like basic navigation information, for example - and what motorists will want to pay for, such as an advanced navigation assistant able to help drivers avoid traffic jams.

There will also be plenty of video games. Mercedes signed a partnership with online gaming platform Antstream Arcade to integrate a catalog of arcade-style video games into its multimedia system, providing entertainment for young and old on the move, or even when stationary.

All this adds up to a potentially very lucrative enterprise for Mercedes-Benz, which claims to have already pocketed $1 billion USD from this formula to date, and expects to generate at least $2 billion a year from 2025 onwards.

The MB.OS system, applications
The MB.OS system, applications | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Hey Mercedes!
Mercedes-Benz describes its user interface as “hyper-personalized”. Whether through music, navigation, voice commands or recommendations, every interaction with the multimedia interface is designed to adapt to the context in which it takes place. Say representatives of the Stuttgart-based company, the future of driving is more intuitive, more immersive and more personal.

In any case, it's certainly more interactive than ever. The interface that will gradually appear on future vehicles can be activated by simply saying its name: "Hey Mercedes!”. It will then be possible to speak to it, quite naturally, and it will respond to the occupant's requests just as naturally.

Mercedes-Benz uses generative AI to bring this very modern incarnation of the Mercedes interface to life. In addition to voice, the AI takes the form of a 3D animation displayed on the vehicle's center console screen. The Mercedes-Benz logo is seen waddling and adopting a colour and posture that indicates the system is either listening, thinking or ready to communicate its suggestions.

This interface is intended to reduce the amount of space given over to touch controls, which are known to cause driver distraction when the vehicle is in motion.

The new MB.OS multimedia platform coming in 2025
The new MB.OS multimedia platform coming in 2025 | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Dolby Atmos on board
A new development in recent months in the world of digital music is the introduction of the Dolby Atmos immersive sound environment. This is a form of surround sound, but not the kind produced in a home theater with a five-speaker system. It's a so-called spatialized sound environment, in the sense that it produces the sensation that different sounds are coming from different places around the listener.

Mercedes-Benz has been using Dolby Atmos spatialized audio for some time now. A partnership with Amazon will enable it to take the concept a step further for the reading of Kindle audio books. The voices of the characters in the books listened to on board the vehicle will thus have their own presence in space, which should make on-board entertainment more pleasing to the ear and a more compelling experience.

Note that Kindle audio books in Dolby Atmos format will be offered in English only for the time being.

Michael Hafner, VP, MB.OS Base Layer & MBUX at Mercedes-Benz
Michael Hafner, VP, MB.OS Base Layer & MBUX at Mercedes-Benz | Photo: Mercedes-Benz

MBUX Sound Drive
Mercedes-Benz is clearly on the lookout for new forms of in-car entertainment. On the musical side, and in partnership with American artist, Mercedes will soon be offering cutting-edge music technology that delivers a unique interactive experience. 

Imagine yourself behind the wheel, immersed in a world of sound where the music reacts to your movements, the environment and your mood. This is the MBUX Sound Drive application, a music service that fuses passion for music with cutting-edge engineering, creating a revolutionary audio experience. The app currently includes a handful of songs, but their playback is infinite. 

Tempo, lyrics, chorus and instruments can be heard as the vehicle's driving behavior changes. This creates a more engaged driving experience and an emotional connection with the vehicle, something cherished by performance car brands such as Mercedes-Benz's AMG division.

It remains to be seen whether Mercedes will be able to hum the lyrics of the song being played in concert with the vehicle's occupants...

MBUX Sound Drive
MBUX Sound Drive | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Alain McKenna
Alain McKenna
Automotive expert
  • More than 25 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • Over 51 test drives in the past year
  • Attended more than 115 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists.