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A glass cockpit in your car

The hyperscreen (hyper is for marketing…) is a huge slab of glass using OLED technology to display a variety of parameters and information, made simple by AI support. Image credit: Mercedes

The recent announcement of the Mercedes Hyperscreen creates, as they say (watch the clip) a Wow factor. Indeed, the screen covers the whole dashboard, door to door -141 cm-, in front of the driver and the front passenger.

It is curved and shaped to fit the dashboard, quite different from those rectangular screens we are used to. It uses a OLED technology with high contrast to be easily seen even under sun-glare in the central and passenger parts -the driver part is shadowed and does not have to fight sunlight.

Although it is composed of several screens the perception is of a single one, a slab of glass with a surface of 2,400+ Gorilla glass embedding 12 actuators to provide haptic feedback at the touch.

According to the ads it has supercomputer processing power (which is both false -supercomputers today are way – way more powerful, and true – it has the power of a supercomputer af some fifteen/twenty years ago, but so does your smartphone) having 8 processing cores and plenty of storage with a data transfer bus working at 46.4 GB/s. Quite impressive.

What impress me most, however, it is not the performance, nor the size. It is the amazing evolution of technology that has made possible to move from a design concept to a real mass market product in less than 2 years. This means having been able to slash the cost to the point of becoming affordable (even though it is -at this time- targeting top of the like -pricey- models).

Also the name is interesting: MBUX, standing for Mercedes Benz User Experience. The focus is on a seamless interaction (of course the wow factor doesn’t harm marketing…) that is made possible by the hardware -the nice, smooth curved surface with touch and haptic-, and by software. The interface can be customised to fit preferences of up to 9 different drivers/passengers and is continuously adapting to their use, thanks to artificial intelligence based software that is monitoring the way the interface is used and adapts to it.

It is for top of the line but we know the path: in just a few more years it will become a standard interface on any model of cars. It won’t happen soon because the cost of the glass part is not gong to decrease that much (software cost is rapidly going to zero and the cost of chips will also go down), so for cheaper models we might expect a smaller surface….

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.