Mercedes Claims First for its Own In-Car OS

Mercedes-Benz says it plans to be the first global automaker to create its own computer operating system by the middle of the decade.

The premium carmaker has released initial details of its own operating system MB.OS, which will be introduced with the new MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture) vehicle platform. This system is designed and developed in-house in a clear move to cut out third-party digital players from the brand’s the customer relationship, it says, to ensure data privacy and to allow integration of all car functions. That said, it will partner with the Google Maps Platform which will be embedded in MB.OS so we have yet to be told just how much customer information will find its way into that digital giant’s databases.

The automaker says its system is based on a purpose-built chip-to-cloud architecture and benefits from full access to all vehicle domains, including infotainment, automated driving, body and comfort, driving and charging. While open for partners, the system is designed to connect the major aspects of the automaker’s value chain, including development, production, omni-channel commerce and services, making it an operating system for the entire Mercedes-Benz business.

Autonomous driving

Another partner in the project is gaming specialist Nvidia, which provides its software, data and AI expertise as well as its Orin system-on-chip to enhance benchmark Level 2 and Level 3 automated driving systems. Vehicle variants will also be equipped with next-generation sensors, including LiDAR sensors from Luminar.

The next generation of Level 2 automated driving will start in the Entry segment, employing machine learning. A comprehensive set of sensors will be available in the MMA platform, which will also benefit from new dimensions of processing power. Where local regulations allow, customers will be able to enjoy more comfort, including hands-free driving while keeping the eyes on the road. In China, navigation-based system-initiated lane changes will also be available, based on a map data from the Chinese local partner AMAP.

The company is now focusing on Level 3 conditionally automated driving with the ultimate goal of driving at speeds of up to 81mph in its final version. In China, Mercedes-Benz is engaging in a local cloud partnership with Tencent to support its automated driving systems. An enriched UI for automated driving functions including an advanced lane-level map view is planned.


Using the Google Maps Platform, drivers will also be able to use the YouTube app on the infotainment system when parked and while using the Drive Pilot Level 3 conditionally automated driving system, where permitted. In addition, Mercedes-Benz will give customers access to Place Details, helping them find detailed information about more than 200 million businesses and places around the world, including business hours, photos, ratings, and reviews.

At the same time, drivers will continue to benefit from the native integration of essential navigation functionalities, unavailable from off-the-shelf infotainment systems. One example is precise and reliable range management for electric vehicles because MB.OS has access to all vehicle data such as state of charge and energy consumption. A precursor to MB.OS will already be available in the new E-Class starting in 2023 with the third generation of MBUX. A new MBUX API for Android allows the installation of third-party apps, claiming a better user experience compared to mirrored apps.

Ola Källenius, chief executive officer, Mercedes-Benz, said: “At Mercedes-Benz, we are dedicated to building the world’s most desirable cars. Accordingly, we made the decision to be the architects of our own operating system – a unique chip-to-cloud architecture that leverages its full access to our vehicles’ hardware- and software components. By combining this in-house expertise with a selection of world-class partners, we will create an outstanding customer experience, from driving assistance, navigation and entertainment, all the way to integrated charging. MB.OS will feature full upgradeability and constant improvements.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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