Radio and Bluetooth long ago ceased to be the only components in car entertainment. From touchscreens and gesture control all the way to artificial intelligence, car entertainment has developed into a must-have. Soon cars will be computers on wheels. Here we describe the digital experiences they already offer.
Since March 2020, Mercedes fans have been enjoying new functions in the MBUX (Mercedes Benz User Experience) multimedia system with artificial intelligence. Users can choose to control MBUX using voice, gestures or the touchscreen, and it is available for installation in all models – for example in the Mercedes Benz A-Class. With the aid of artificial intelligence, the system automatically reacts to traffic queues by indicating quicker routes. Every day the MBUX “memory” learns more about the driver’s habits and notes such things as favorite songs or frequently called phone numbers. It can read out messages and e-mails using the Linguatronic voice control system. The fully integrated MBUX Entertainment system also connects the vehicle with the driver’s chosen streaming services. In addition, the MBUX rear entertainment can transform the car into a work environment. The console between the driver and the front passenger contains a contact point for wireless smartphone charging.
The Porsche Taycan Turbo S is a real digital co-pilot. The manufacturer’s Porsche Connect system offers an individual driving experience. For instance, the driver can access in real time all the relevant information concerning the vehicle, the outside environment or the whole world. The digital repertoire includes online searches, navigation and streaming of a choice of 60 million songs ad-free. The driver can manage the Porsche Taycan Turbo S functions from either inside or outside the vehicle by voice control or with a smartphone.
Volkswagen’s ID.3 can use the digital services from “We Connect Start” online. This provides access to real-time information on the traffic, charging stations and their occupancy status, prices and opening times. With the “We Connect ID. App,” drivers can keep an eye on their vehicle – they can see the remaining range, set the air conditioning, and start or stop the charging process. In addition, navigation maps are always automatically updated via an internet connection.
The BMW iX is expected to be available from the end of 2021. A curved widescreen display replaces the classical instrument panel on the dashboard. Many of the functions are voice-controlled. Alongside the luxurious lounge interior, BMW is also offering innovative Shy Tech features. The Shy Tech concept means that practically all the sensors and cameras are installed so that they become visible only when in use.
The Audi AI:ME Is especially futuristic. The developers of the concept car focused on creating an exceptional interior – for example by using large glass sections in the deep-set windows and the roof to ensure light and transparency. The Audi AI:ME also shows the influence of artificial intelligence and machine learning on mobility.
The Volvo 360c is a concept car intended to fulfill all individual mobility needs in the future. The fully autonomous electric vehicle offers its occupants every option: they can relax, celebrate, work or even go to sleep. The idea is to develop a long-term sustainable alternative to travel by rail or by air – using one’s own car.
The automobile brand Byton, from the Chinese company Future Mobility Corporation, specializes in electric cars and self-driving vehicles. In 2018, the company exhibited the electrically powered SUV M-Byte at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and Byton has been regarded as a Chinese competitor to Tesla ever since. The Byton M-Byte is the company’s vision of the future. Its special feature is the digital cockpit with a gigantic screen. The unusual screen landscape consists of touchscreens in the arm rest between the seats, in the steering wheel and on the dashboard.
Tesla’s infotainment system uses a 15.4-inch center-mounted touchscreen. This is the only control unit and information display. It provides various services for performance, audio and music, gaming, driver assistance, security, mobile radio and Wi-Fi. The system also has an integrated dashcam. Elon Musk has announced the release of an update package before Christmas. Some observers expect a fundamentally new version of the Tesla software, possibly including heating functions for the steering wheel or a charging connector in the Model 3.
It should also be possible to use Sentry Mode without a USB memory stick. The most recent threat triggering an alarm is recorded in the Tesla’s internal memory.