The MBUX Hyperscreen is the absolute highlight in the interior. This large, curved screen unit sweeps almost from A-pillar to A-pillar. Three screens sit under a common bonded cover glass and visually merge into one display. In addition to the so-called zero-layer design, the MBUX Hyperscreen offers intuitive touch operation with haptic feedback and force feedback. The scratch-resistant glass is coated to make cleaning easier.
With the MBUX Hyperscreen (optional extra), three displays merge almost seamlessly into one another to create an impressive screen band over 141 centimetres wide: Driver display (screen diagonal: 12.3 inch), central display (17.7 inch) and front passenger display (12.3 inch) appear as one visual unit.
The selected display style is shown uniformly on all screens; and the brightness is homogeneously adapted to the lighting conditions in the interior. The control panels for the automatic climate control system are located in the lower area of the central display. These remain permanently displayed so that the driver and front passenger can directly adjust the temperature and ventilation.
For particularly brilliant display quality OLED technology is used for the central and front passenger displays. This is where the individual image points are self-luminous; non-controlled image pixels remain switched off, which means that they appear deep black. The active OLED pixels, on the other hand, shine with a high colour brilliance, which also means high contrast values – irrespective of the perspective and the light conditions.
The central and front passenger displays also provide haptic feedback. When a finger touches certain spots on the touch screen, actuators (eight in the central display, four in the front passenger display) trigger a perceptible vibration of the cover glass. The user thus feels pulses on the smooth surface, which give the impression of a mechanical switch. Another operating aid known from high-quality consumer electronics products is the so-called force feedback of both displays. For this purpose, a metallised foam is integrated into the device as a force sensor. Different levels of pressure on the glass change the response. For example, MBUX then jumps to another menu level.
The 12.3-inch OLED display for the front passenger gives them their own display and control area, making journeys more enjoyable and entertaining. However, the entertainment functions of the front passenger's display are only available within the framework of the national legal regulations during the journey. Mercedes relies on an intelligent, camera-based locking logic: if the camera detects that the driver is looking in the direction of the front passenger display, it is automatically dimmed when certain content is displayed. He/she then cannot look at them while driving. If the front passenger seat is not occupied, the screen becomes a digital decorative image. The customer can choose from various decorative images, including a starry sky, i.e. the Mercedes-Benz pattern.
The curved cover glass is made of particularly scratch-resistant aluminium silicate glass and is coated to make cleaning easier. For example, fingerprints can be easily removed with a microfibre cloth.
Ergonomic, sophisticated, robust: the development
During the development of the MBUX Hyperscreen, Mercedes-Benz engineers carried out extensive ergonomics studies with visual beams. The result is an optimised alignment of the MBUX Hyperscreen to reduce reflections caused by the curvature of the cover glass. In addition, the upper part of the windscreen is shaded by a tinted strip.
Other details designed with the hallmark Mercedes-Benz meticulousness include the brightness of all three screens, which is adjusted to the respective ambient conditions. A light sensor above the central display is used to determine the illumination level in the driver and front passenger areas. In addition, the camera integrated in the driver display measures the ambient brightness. Both the brightness and the image content of the displays are then adjusted. At the same time, this algorithm is less susceptible to scattered light and thus to misinterpretation of the measurement system.
Tolerance to high temperature differences, immunity to vibrations and protection against dust are among the tough automotive requirements for which the entire system has been designed. Age-related burn-in effects of OLED displays are countered with the help of various technical solutions. The ageing process of each individual pixel is permanently monitored and an automatic adjustment is carried out in the background to compensate for it. In addition, the displayed image information rotates slightly and imperceptibly counter-clockwise to reduce permanent strain.
Curved, bonded and printed: the production
The large cover glass is curved three-dimensionally using the moulding process. This hot forming of glass at process temperatures of approx. 650°C places the highest demands on mould making and process control and is used in the production of optical glass for camera lenses and smartphone cover glasses. With the MBUX Hyperscreen, this process enables a distortion-free view of the displays across the entire width of the vehicle, regardless of the radius of the cover glass.
All displays are transparently bonded to the cover glass for a uniform refractive index curve to avoid reflections as much as possible. The central and front passenger displays are optically connected to the cover glass under vacuum. This so-called dry bonding process uses an adhesive material similar to double-sided adhesive tape. The LCD driver display, which is flat due to its design, uses a wet bonding process in which the adhesive material is liquid to compensate for the radius of the cover glass.
The black areas between the screens are printed onto the cover glass from behind using a screen printing process specially adapted to the curvature. The colour of the black print was adapted to the reflection behaviour of the OLED displays in order to achieve a homogeneous overall impression in a wide variety of lighting situations. For certain important warning lights to the right and left of the driver display, a mask is used during the screen printing process to leave out the corresponding symbol.
The MBUX Hyperscreen is surrounded by a continuous front frame in plastic. This visible part is painted in "Silver Shadow" using an extensive three-coating process. This paint system achieves an especially high-quality surface impression through extremely thin intermediate coats. The integrated ambient lighting included in the lower section of the MBUX Hyperscreen appears to make the display unit hover on the instrument panel.
Extensive precautions: the safety measures
The MBUX Hyperscreen is bolted directly to the cockpit cross-member for stability: The connection to a stabilising magnesium support as the structural component of the MBUX Hyperscreen is made via aluminium brackets. Their honeycomb structure allows them to deform in a controlled manner in a crash. For reasons of side impact protection, the cover glass also does not extend all the way to the doors. In the event of a severe side impact, there are also predetermined breaking points behind the side air vents.