Mercedes-Benz has released first details of its new MB.OS (Mercedes-Benz Operating System), which will be introduced mid-decade (sometime around 2025) with the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA).
The MMA is dedicated to the brand’s upcoming compact and medium size models and is claimed to be its last platform to also support ICEs, although the focus will first and foremost be on fully electric powertrains. Both the MMA and MB.OS were announced as far back as 2020 when Mercedes-Benz presented its new car business strategy.
According to the carmaker, MB.OS is a new “purpose-built chip-to-could architecture” that will be standardised across the entire vehicle portfolio. It is designed to be fully updatable for rapid product product upgrades and deliberately open for selected partners to get involved in providing their services. The software suite incorporates infotainment, which includes Mercedes-Benz’s own branded navigation experience based on new in-car data and navigation capabilities from the Google Maps platform.
Both companies recently announced they’ve entered into a long-term strategic partnership, which will provide the carmaker with access to Google’s leading geospatial data, including real-time and predictive traffic information, automatic rerouting and more. Users will also be able to use the YouTube app on the infotainment system when parked and while using the Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot Level 3 conditionally automated driving system in markets that permit it.
Additionally, users can find detailed information about more than 200 million businesses and places around the world via Place Details, which has been rolled out to vehicles with the current latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) in selected markets. For electric vehicles, MB.OS will continue to provide users with precise and reliable range management during navigated journeys.
Last but not least, the new operating system expands infotainment features to include in-car gaming through Antstream, in-car video conferencing through Webex and Zoom. A precursor to MB.OS already exists in the upcoming W214 E-Class, which allows for third-party apps like TikTok, Angry Birds, the Vivaldi browser and video conferencing apps to be installed.
Beyond infotainment, MB.OS is also responsible for a car’s autonomous driving. This requires a considerable amount of processing power, which will be provided by the Nvidia Drive Orin system-on-chip that is capable of conducting 254 trillion operations per second. Nvidia will also lend its software, data and AI expertise to enhance benchmark SAE Level 2 and Level 3 automated driving systems.
The ”brain” collects and processes information from radar sensors, cameras and LiDAR sensors (supplied by Luminar), with additional redundancy measures to ensure the highest safety standards are met. Mercedes-Benz says it is focusing on Level 3 conditionally automated driving with the ultimate goal of driving at speeds of up to 130 km/h in its final iteration.
Given the fully updatable nature of MB.OS, software-enabled upgrades will be a key feature and allow the carmaker to deliver services that are more personalised and convenient. Mercedes-Benz will offer “flexible upgrades” packaged into three bundles – MB.Connect, MB.Charge and MB.Drive – that enable a variety of vehicle functions.
This is essentially a way to sell subscriptions, and customers can make purchases via the Mercedes me store. Mercedes-Benz says it in its release that it is “confident that this strategic approach to software and hardware development will be the basis for lifetime revenues as well as additional contributions.”
“Already in 2022, Mercedes-Benz generated more than one billion euros (around RM4.7 billion) in software-enabled revenues with products and services such as navigation, live traffic or online map updates,” it added.
Moving forward, the compaony expects total software-enabled revenues coming from MB.Connect and MB.Drive to grow to a “low-to-mid single-digit billion euro figure” by mid-decade before increasing to a “high single-digit billion euro figure” by the end of the decade. There’s a lot of money to be made here, and MB.OS will help make it happen.
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