Mercedes MB.OS Is the Screen-Heavy Portion of an Ambitious Technology Plan

  • Mercedes-Benz has announced that it has a new operating system, MB.OS, that will start appearing on new vehicles supported by the company’s new MMA platform.
  • Owners will see safety features like road scanning lidar thanks to the new operating system, and games like Angry Birds and social media like TikTok will be available on the cabin-dominant screens.
  • A long-term partnership with Google is said to add the latest data and navigation features such as Location Details.

The old technology mantra of “move fast and break things” was as present as a meme as we lived through an era of rapid innovation in nearly every aspect of our lives. There is one place where it doesn’t quite work: when it comes to safety and trust. In the automotive space, sometimes slow and steady is the right move, and as one of the oldest car companies, Mercedes-Benz has had plenty of time to develop and evolve.

Today in Sunnyvale, California, Mercedes-Benz gave us a glimpse into its future and charted its course through the next round of innovation. This naturally includes features for electric vehicles and automated driving, but also entertainment, productivity and well-being. And that includes some wildly lit displays.

More to do and see on screen(s)

First up is the introduction of MB.OS, Mercedes’ new operating system that promises advancements in infotainment, safety and next-generation automated driving. It will debut in a few years on the first vehicle to use the new electric Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform. NVIDIA will provide the software, data and AI expertise, as well as chips capable of processing 254 trillion operations per second for automated driving.

Other partnerships for other features include road-scanning lidar from Luminar, while Google will contribute in-car data and more accurate mapping and navigation. Mercedes will also open up its system to other partners to integrate entertainment options. These include TikTok, Zoom, a Vivaldi web browser and even Angry Birds. Of course, MB.OS will have over-the-air update capability to keep your system up to date and enable future features as well.

Assisted driving is advancing

There is also plenty of hardware to support all this software, and going forward all Mercedes-Benz vehicles will come with the equipment needed for Level 2 automated driving. It’s similar to what we have today, with a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane centering to relieve a practical driver of some of the driving burdens. Customers will be able to order their higher-end Mercedes with Level 3 automation called Drive Pilot.

Drive Pilot will be available on the 2024 EQS and S-Class sedans and could be the first Level 3 system offered in the US. It will operate on highways at speeds up to 40 mph, at least initially. The aim is to extend this to 80 mph. Unlike systems from GM and Ford, Drive Pilot will allow the driver to look away from the road, but they will still need to be prepared to take over driving duties at a moment’s notice. More significantly, Mercedes will accept responsibility for the vehicle when it is in Drive Pilot mode, which is a testament to their confidence in the system.

Innovation is nothing new for Mercedes-Benz, and this latest advancement is proof that they are pushing towards the vision of the future that was the stuff of fiction a decade or two ago. (Whether this is the kind of fiction you want to make come true is of course up to you.)

Headshot from Mark Takahashi

Contributing Editor

With a background in design and open-wheel racing, Mark Takahashi got his foot in the door as an art director on car and motorcycle magazines. He parlayed that into a career as an automotive journalist, reviewing thousands of vehicles over the past few decades.