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Mercedes Taking New “User Experience” to CES

Automakers struggle to add more high-tech content – and make it easier to use.

by on Dec.12, 2017

The interior of the next Mercedes-Benz A-Class shows off its expansive display technology.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has become a showcase for the auto industry, as much as it traditional was for computer, TV and smartphone manufacturers. A number of intriguing products, such as the Volkswagen BUDD-e van and Chevrolet Bolt EV have debuted there in recent years, but Mercedes-Benz is taking a different tack next month, using CES to reveal a completely new infotainment system.

Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, it is designed to replace the German marque’s now-familiar COMAND system. Using artificial intelligence and what Mercedes calls “an intuitive operating system,” the goal appears to be finding a way to add even more technology into tomorrow’s luxury products without confounding owners.

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That’s a major challenge. Today’s cars are loaded with as many as 100 different microprocessors operating such things as a vehicle’s engine and safety gear. But manufacturers are also loading up with lots of new infotainment technologies and in many cases, they can turn out to be “nightmares” to operate, Renee Stephens, vice president at J.D. Power and Associates noted when unveiling the research firm’s latest APEAL study earlier this year.


Despite Problems, Ford Expanding Commitment as Sync Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Live operator assist will be included with new Lincolns.

by on Nov.09, 2012

New Lincoln models, such as the 2013 MKZ, will get an expanded suite of Sync Services, including live operator support, free for three years.

Despite some persistent carping about the system’s effectiveness and ease of use, Ford Motor Co. and Microsoft are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the partnership which spawned the groundbreaking Sync voice-activated infotainment system.

With over 5 million Ford vehicles in the market using the technology – but with complaints leading to recent declines in quality and customer satisfaction surveys – Ford says it will stick with Sync and related systems like MyFordTouch, but also find ways to improve the usability of those technologies.

The Last Word!

It will also offer more features, Ford announcing that it will now offer three years of Sync Services — the upgraded version that provides live operator assist – on all 2013 Lincoln models. That notably includes the all-new Lincoln MKZ.


“Test Driving” Cadillac Cue

iPad-like system can be controlled with normal speech.

by on Nov.11, 2011

Cadillac demonstrates the new Cue infotainment system, which debuts on the 2013 Caddy XTS.

Ever since Motorola introduced the first primitive in-car radio motorists have been demanding more and better onboard electronics – and these days, some cars offer better technology than you’ll find in the typical home or office.

But that raises another challenge: how to provide simple and intuitive controls for all that technology so the car’s cabin doesn’t like the crowded cockpit of a fighter jet.  We’ve seen some creative solutions – from BMW’s iDrive to Ford MyTouch — that have created problems of their own, but now, General Motors is weighing in with what it bills as the even more advanced Cadillac Cue.

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We got a chance to take the technology for a test drive, so to speak, ahead of its formal introduction at the L.A. Auto Show next week.  And, while the prototype Caddy Cue still had some clear bugs to work out before its launch on the new 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan, we found that it clearly advances the state of in-car infotainment controls.