Mercedes Shows Off Artificial Intelligence at Mobile World Congress 2018

Two highlights of the new tech are the 'Ask Mercedes' digital personal assistant and the freshly-desgined MBUX user experience.

If you thought CES 2018 was filled with technological breakthroughs, you should see what’s going on at the Mobile World Congress 2018. Mercedes-Benz is out in full effect, showing off a host of new tech built on artificial intelligence. The showcase includes the brand’s new multimedia system, digital vehicle keys, Smart Vision EQ Fortwo, Smart “Ready To” and its virtual assistant “Ask Mercedes.” The show kicks off today in Barcelona and runs through March 1.

The new multimedia system known as the Mercedes-Benz User Experience—MBUX for short—will make its debut in the upcoming A-Class this spring. The system is fully customizable and learns to adapt to the user. The map display is also supplemented by augmented reality. A video image of the car’s surroundings is taken with the front camera then the image is augmented with helpful information to help the driver. It should make it easier to figure out things like street name, house number, and which direction you’re facing.

Any phone with a Near Field Chip will be able to use the Digital Vehicle Key. If you don’t have one in your phone, Mercedes is supplying new A-Class owners in Germany with a Digital Car Key Sticker with a built-in microchip. Once equipped, owners can hop in and start up their car without fumbling for a key fob. Just throw your phone in the center console storage tray and away you go. This is almost as cool as the Tesla Model 3’s credit card key.

The Mercedes-Benz display at the Mobile World Congress, Daimler AG

The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo is an innovative vehicle focused on the future of urban mobility and car sharing. If I had a dollar for every time a car company talked about the future of urban mobility lately, I’d have enough money to buy one of these things. The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo would pick up passengers directly from their chosen location and have no steering wheel or pedals. This is part of the larger Smart brand

“Ready To” campaign which looks to make city life easier.

Finally, in case you didn’t have enough electronic devices to yell at, there’s “Ask Mercedes.” It’s the new virtual assistant from the auto manufacturer. It’s basically a voice recognition app for your car that can control your smartphone. You can also control several vehicle functions and learn more about your car by using it. Add Mercedes to your list of Siri, Cortana, Google, Alexa, and other names you scream at your devices. I say they bring back that little paperclip from Microsoft Office.