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Unity today announced a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz. The Unity engine will power the infotainment domain of the MB.OS operating system. It will roll out to the first vehicles in 2024.
Mercedes is using Unity Industrial Collection to create the UI for the in-car cockpit. Unity’s tech will power everything from 3D navigation software to virtual avatars and augmented reality experiences. This could include local weather and traffic data, streamed entertainment or mixed-reality experiences using the car’s smart glass.
Gordon Wagener, Mercedes’ chief design officer, told GamesBeat, “At Mercedes, we believe that infotainment systems should be able to understand and learn the driver’s needs and habits in order to become a personal assistant. Maximum comfort and minimal distraction is the goal. Interaction between humans and vehicles is increasingly based on voice assistants, touchscreens, and smart surfaces. We don’t see that trend changing… Giving our customers the ability to access information how they need it and when they need it is a key aspect of a luxury in-car experience. Pairing Unity on MB.OS does exactly that for the driver and passengers, ensuring that they have everything they need when they need it, in real time and in 3D.”
GamesBeat also spoke with Dave Rhodes, SVP at Unity, who described the kind of Mercedes-Benz that a passenger would get in as little as five years: “You are going to be in a vehicle where you’re not focused on driving, or avoiding hitting a tree or another car. You’re gonna be focused on a combination of digital experiences in the cabin, as well as a connection to the physical world in ways that, for example, will make car trips fun and educational… What this interactive HMI system that Mercedes is designing is partially focused on doing is provide the right information to the operator of the vehicle at the right time. Whether you’ve got some weather coming up, and how that might impact visibility, or giving you options around how to set up controls in a way… That’s the kind of thing that they’re instrumenting into their OS. And they’re using Unity to do that.”