Mercedes' new AI will remix your music as you drive
Mercedes has come out swinging at CES 2024 with some headline-grabbing AI tech, reaching into user interface and even your audio experience. Top of the list is a system Mercedes-AMG and Will-I-Am have launched called MBUX Sound Drive.
Sound Drive is an AI-powered system that takes your music and effectively remixes it as you drive, building up to its full volume as you accelerate and bringing it down to a faded background sound when you decelerate. It’s almost as if the car is using the music that’s playing to soundtrack your drive in real-time. The system also reacts to the car recuperating, steering and braking. It could also be capable of reacting to the car’s other functions with signals, like piping in soothing sounds during choppy weather.
“At Mercedes-Benz, we want digital innovation to bring a smile to our customers’ faces through exciting new features that make a real difference to every journey,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer.
“With MBUX Sound Drive,AMG drivers are in control of the way their music sounds. It makes in-car entertainment much more immersive.”
As seems to be the trend this year, Mercedes has also introduced a generative AI-powered virtual assistant, that it says will ‘transform the car-driver relationship with natural conversation’.
Like in the upcoming Volkswagen Golf GTI with its Chat GPT-powered voice assistant, this is effectively a supercharged voice function that can answer questions and borderline converse with you. The Virtual Assistant is underpinned by four ‘personality traits’. These are Natural, Predictive, Personal and Empathetic, with a voice that’s ‘more emotional’ to ‘generate a sense of empathy’.
It can react to prevailing situations, like putting the news on automatically in the morning or, to put a business-like twist on it – it is a Mercedes system after all – it can dial into a meeting automatically and directly if it sees a meeting in your calendar that you’re late for.
Mercedes has indicated that, unlike some manufacturers who are dialling back somewhat on the screen-heavy controls and going back to buttons, Mercedes has set its stall on a digital future.The new voice controls and virtual assistants are no doubt a big piece of Mercedes’ plan to make it all work a bit more seamlessly than perhaps some touch-dominated systems have in recent years.
Also at CES are disguised prototypes of the all-new electric G-Class which has been showcasing its ‘G-Turn’ feature, which effectively allows it to turn like a tank. We expect to see that be revealed at some point later this year. We’re very curious about what the range will be like given the G-Class’s, er, rather traditional aero profile.