One of the key trends emerging in the car cabin, as seen just prior to CES 2021, is the superwide screen that can stretch as far as the entire dashboard. Both Mercedes and General Motors previewed seamless wide screens on Friday, signaling a shift in infotainment that will impact the aftermarket down the road.
Cadillac said it will offer a 33-inch screen for the new LYRIQ, its first all-electric SUV, due in 2023. The advanced LED display shows information where it is needed most by the driver at any given time. More features will be announced on January 12.
Mercedes’ super wide screen is even larger at 56-inches and is due this year as an option in the EQS. Its system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make personalized suggestions to the user for infotainment, said the company.
[See the aftermarket reaction below.]
Mercedes calls the new screen the MBUX Hyperscreen.“…the user does not have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The most important applications are always offered in a situational and contextual way at the top level in view,” it said.
Ambient lighting is installed in the lower part of the Hyperscreen to make it appear to float.
The passenger has their own display and operating area.
Mercedes’ research found that most of the infotainment usage centers around “Navigation, Radio/Media and Telephony” so navigation is always at the center of the screen. If the user regularly calls someone after work on Tuesdays, the system will show info for that call. If someone uses the massage function in the car, the system learns that as well.
The system uses 8 CPU cores with 24GB RAM and 46.4 GB per second RAM memory.
Previously, separate screens in the vehicle were stitched together. But these new screens are seamless.
We asked a few industry members about the expected impact of this wide screen trend on the aftermarket.
“The Cadillac and Mercedes large screens are examples of what’s already been a trend. The new Escalade screen is 2/3rds the width of the dash. I’ve seen some of the Mercedes vehicles evolve with the wider screen in the A class in Europe,” said Todd Ramsey, of Ramsey Consulting. Given that the screens are arriving on high end vehicles and mostly electric vehicles and hybrids, the market for radios is still wide open. “For the aftermarket, it just means the importance of integrating as far as improving audio with the NAV-TV ZEN and AmpPRO….those type of devices are really more and more necessary.”
But in the future, aftermarket radio suppliers will need to evolve. A supplier said key car radio makers will want to offer peripherals such as those supplied by iDatalink, Metra and others. “They are going to have to become component and modular based solution providers if they want to stay in the game.” He said the large OEM screens will be partitioned and offer several access points and a supplier might offer a radio module or other peripherals.
Top photo: Mercedes MBUX Hyperscreen