Mercedes has filled its A-Class with a ton of tech, making it a legitimate sibling to the mighty S-Class. It’s clean and aggressive exterior styling is offset by an upscale, and yet roomy, interior. The A-Class model is first set to appear in the United States later this year. But not only that. Mercedes is bringing us the first ever A-Class sedan. The A-Class is the first vehicle to feature Mercedes’ voice-driven MBUX interface. Car technology has come a long way in the last few years. I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that we lived without Bluetooth. How did we live without Bluetooth? I mean, that has truly changed my life. But now, cars are being built with some pretty incredible technology.
What is MBUX? It’s an intuitive and intelligent multimedia system. The acronym stands for Mercedes Benz User Experience. It’s really that simple. But what they’ve done isn’t all that simple. The operating system is made up of three levels, and each level provides more detail. We should also note that the infotainment system is designed in widescreen. On the first level, you find what is known as the Homescreen. This is where, alongside the freely selectable main applications (e.g. telephone, navigation, and radio), the most important information (such as arrival time, song currently being played etc.) is displayed.
The next level – the Basescreen – with the display and controls for one main application respectively, such as Media and Navigation, is only one step away. The most important information and control options respectively are attractively presented at this level. Important functions such as destination or music search are grouped at the bottom edge of the screen. The third screen is known as the Submenu, and this is where you find things that aren’t used very often.
But what might be the coolest part of the A-Class is the ability to use voice control. In other cars, there are fixed commands that can be used. But thanks to natural speech recognition, MBUX’s Linguatronic technology, it recognizes almost every command. Including full sentences, and even context. For example, you can ask “Will the sun be shining in Miami tomorrow?” Not only will you get an answer, but you can also change up the question to “Do I need sunglasses in Miami tomorrow?” and you’ll receive the same response. The intelligent language assistance is activated either by pressing a button on the steering wheel or by saying “Hey Mercedes”.
If I’m being honest, I kind of think that this is the coolest thing ever. But it’s also a little bit scary, isn’t it? I mean, the technology is amazing but the fact that it can understand the difference in these questions, and still answer them does seem a bit much. When I think about things like the robot uprising, this is what I think of. Not necessarily because I’m worried that this will happen, but at what point will technology become too smart for us. This isn’t from the perspective of taking our jobs, or anything like that, but just from a practical sense. Will we rely solely on technology for everything that we do in the future? I think I know the answer to that, but to what end? Regardless, Mercedes is bringing us into the future with the new A-Class. And when I say the future, I definitely mean bringing us one step closer to living with the Jetsons.