Mercedes is trying to push the envelope when it comes to future-facing luxury, and it’s new EQS—the electric equivalent to its S Class sedan—is the tip of the spear. For that reason, it’s the vehicle that will first be rolled off the line with what Mercedes is referring to as the “Hyperscreen.” Actually three separate displays—two of them curved OLEDs—behind a 56-inch wall of curved glass, the Hyperscreen replaces everything you know about a car’s interior with one massive interface.
There’s haptic engines for feedback, proximity sensors for gesture control, and the whole display is powered by a quad-core computer that’s about as powerful as the average desktop device. The system also integrates AI to learn common activities of the user in order to streamline the operating experience. If you often make a call around the same time, it will automatically start prompting you to make it. If you always want a heated steering wheel at 9:32 PM on Tuesday night, well, you can forget about pressing the button anymore.
Thanks to 377-square inches of area, there’s also plenty of space to access all of the things you use most often without having to navigate into a sub-menu. Mercedes researched the most common functions of such a system that people used and made sure that those were the ones that the user would always be able to see. The Hyperscreen’s designers refer to this as “zero-layer” design.
And before we start getting all riled up on the topic of the loss of buttons and screen glare, the display has two coatings over the cover plate of the interface to ensure that glare is as minimal as possible. It will also auto-adjust its brightness based upon the ambient luminosity encountered wherever you happen to be driving. Speaking to the ergonomics and tactility of the Hyperscreen, Mercedes has installed 12 different haptic engines beneath the display to ensure that when you give the device a command with your finger, you know it understands.
Discussing the loss of physical buttons, Daimler Group’s Chief Design Officer Gordon Wagener told us that, especially in the EQ brand, the company is “Pushing for the elimination of hard keys” and that “I truly believe there’s no way back.” That’s not to say he doesn’t understand the appeal of the analog, however. He states that the integrated HVAC vents on the display are meant to be a meeting of the physical and digital, saying that they’ve been designed with aircraft-like cues to clearly state that carefully designed, physical things will always have a place in Mercedes’ interiors. As far as interfaces go, however, he’s firmly in the camp that digital is the future, a perspective shared with much of the industry.
This digital display also offers up new avenues for giving the passenger a little attention. They get their own display that the driver cannot operate, as eye-tracking within the car will shut it off if they look over at it. It’s also disabled if there is no one sitting in the passenger seat, becoming a piece of something like digital trim, displaying a decorative pattern inspired by the Mercedes logo. It can show a variety of entertainment to the passenger, but specifics—if things like Netflix or other streaming services will be available—have yet to be announced.
So if massive digital displays tend not to be your thing, you’re likely gonna wanna pass on the new EQS when it’s eventually released. We’ve seen a concept of such a vehicle so far and there are prototypes running around in camo, but an official roll-out date for the vehicle, and therefore this tech, is set for sometime in 2023. Until the, we’ll just have to imagine what it’s like to sit inside one massive smartphone.
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