MBUX: Mercedes' Alexa-like voice assistant

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new infotainment system on the recently unveiled A-Class. Called as the Mercedes Benz User Experience (MBUX), the system gets a 'LINGUATRONIC' voice assistant that responds to users when called upon by saying 'Hey Mercedes'. One of the reasons for development of standalone and new voice assistants when there are already established ones like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Alphabet's Google assistant is because many car makers would not like to let a 3rd party access their car's systems.

The Alexa-like voice assistant will be able to access the car’s navigation, phone, audio and air-conditioning functions. The self-evolving system will also be able to understand the driver's habits and anticipate their requirements. Users will be able to speak instructions to the MBUX for simple things like changing the volume to adjusting the cabin temperature and handling navigation duties. Voice recognition software from Massachusetts' Nuance Communications, will be used to handle requests when there will be a lack of internet connectivity.

Apart from the voice assistant, the system consists of a large touchscreen interface, a touchpad and steering mounted touch-control buttons to access the various functions of the infotainment system. The touchpad is capable of recognising handwriting while the steering touch-controls are used for the infotainment system, instrument cluster and the head-up display. Mercedes Me connect services are included in MBUX. They include navigation based on Car-to-X communication, real time vehicle location as well as warn owners in case of a hit on the car or when towed. Car-to-X communications will display alerts real time based on conditions like wet roads, nearby emergency services, etc. on the map. The Me App will also remind users to leave on time (depending on traffic conditions) for the next appointment.

As the technological development progresses, the future assistant systems will be even more closely linked together into the car's various computers and will be able to control many other systems.

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