Mercedes-Benz at CES 2016
Mercedes-Benz is the pioneer when it comes to digitalisation in the automotive industry. Under the motto “It’s all about me”, visitors who attended the Mercedes-Benz exhibition stand at the CES® 2016 were 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 were able to experience the innovative cockpit of the future 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 “Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile” show car, the “Concept IAA”.
“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’.”
The diverse world of Mercedes-Benz.
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 were able to discover and experience the diverse world of Mercedes me. With this CES® premier of Mercedes me, Mercedes-Benz is presented the digital access to the personalized 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 were also able to gain further impressions at the CES®: the range of services offered via the internet portal 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.
Mercedes me connect – connected with the vehicle.
One focal point is the networked vehicle. In the new Mercedes-AMG® GT S and Mercedes-AMG® C 63 Coupé, show visitors learned 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. 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 hot-spots 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.
The innovative infotainment system of the future E-Class.
Another highlight was the future Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which celebrated its world premiere just a few days after the CES® 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® were able to 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 future E-Class is the world’s first vehicle to feature touch control buttons on a multi-function 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.
High-resolution visualisations and animations.
In the future E-Class, Mercedes-Benz is introducing the first fully digital instrument cluster with a resolution of 1,920 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 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”.
Wirelessly charging smartphones.
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 future 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 x 90 millimetres) 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 future E-Class also supports Apple’s in-car infotainment system CarPlay®.
Digital Transformer at the CES® 2016.
Digital Transformer at the CES® 2016.
A further highlight on the Mercedes-Benz stand was the show car – the “Concept IAA” – which celebrated its US market premiere in Las Vegas. Presented to the public for the first time at the IAA 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 were able to experience live. The “Concept IAA” 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 from80 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 future E-Class, parts of this visionary concept are already becoming reality – for example the touch control on the steering wheel and the digital cockpit.
Entering into dialogue with visitors.
Interested visitors to the Mercedes-Benz stand also had the opportunity to enter into dialogue with the specialists. Mercedes-Benz experts in the areas of Mercedes me, the digital vehicle, contextual intelligence and also autonomous driving plus augmented and/or virtual reality were on hand to provide a look behind the scenes in a series of presentations.