What is Mercedes' new augmented reality sat-nav?

One of the most talked about and exciting developments with the new A-Class announcement was the launch of Mercedes’ augmented reality satellite-navigation system. The crown jewel of the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (or MBUX for short), the augmented reality windshield uses an artificial intelligence piece of technology, combined with the cars cameras to create a visually stunning, and practical, satellite navigation experience unlike any other.

How does it work?

The front cameras record video images and transmit to the new highly-customisable digital cockpit of the Mercedes. The clever software then incorporates the satellite-navigation system to overlay/highlight instructions over the images. Rather than looking down at a general graphic or map, the system will show the actual image with indicators like arrows or building numbers overlaid on top. This is particularly helpful for drivers approaching busy intersections or motorways where there are multiple lanes and exits in a short distance and the map might not communicate which on to take clearly enough.

The satellite-navigation system also applies the number of buildings to the properties you’re approaching so that the driver no longer has to creek his/her neck and squint at front door numbers. Instead it will be very clear how close you are to your destination.

“Bringing this industry-leading technology to market first is a testament to our progressive thinking and commitment to increased safety and driver comfort,” said Mike Peters, President, Connected Car division at HARMAN. HARMAN have partnered with Mercedes-Benz owners, Daimler, on the project.

What does this mean for the future?

There are a number of applications for the MBUX augmented reality system that Mercedes are developing and/or considering, such as self-driving vehicles. Mercedes believe that their new augmented reality navigation system is a necessary piece of technology for the future of self-driving cars. Combining the visual aid of satellite navigation systems to real-time video footage could be used to provide self-driving passengers reassurance that the car knows where it’s going and demonstrate what decisions it is about to make – just in case the passenger/driver have different ideas and want to correct the journey.

The augmented reality windshield also presents an exciting opportunity for improving driver safety. Driver assistance systems such as blind spot monitoring, automated cruise control and lane-departure warnings can all be incorporated to the system with more cameras so that the car can start to make better decisions and communicate with the driver more effectively about their driving pattern.

How can I get my hands on the augmented reality system?

Owners of the new 2018 A-Class can upgrade to include the augmented reality satellite navigation system. To enable you to find your way in complex traffic situations, MBUX connects augmented reality for navigation in the real world for just an additional £495.

What is Mercedes' new augmented reality sat-nav?