Mercedes-Benz's next-generation car OS is built around paid software bundles

MB.OS will arrive by mid-decade in the automaker's future EVs.

Michael A. Shaffer / Capitol Sun

Mercedes-Benz is developing a new in-house operating system to power its next generation of electric vehicles. Announced today at an event the automaker held in California, Mercedes said MB.OS – short for Mercedes-Benz Operating System – will deliver enhancements in safety, automated driving and navigation.

The automaker is working with several partners to build its new software stack, including NVIDIA, Luminar and Google. Mercedes will lean on NVIDIA for the company’s software, data and AI expertise. The GPU maker's Orin chipset will also power the first generation of electric cars Mercedes builds based on its upcoming Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform. The automaker expects the first MMA EV to arrive by mid-decade.

A render of Mercedes-Benz's upcoming Google Maps integration.
A render of Mercedes-Benz's upcoming Google Maps integration. (Mercedes-Benz)

As for Luminar and Google, the former will provide Mercedes with its LiDAR technology, while the latter will work with the company to build a branded navigation experience incorporating features from Google Maps. In the meantime, Mercedes is partnering with Google to bring the company’s “Place Details” data to all cars that sport the latest version of its MBUX infotainment system. You can use the integration to look up a local business, find out when it opens, and see photos of the inside and what other Google users have to say about it. Mercedes plans to open MB.OS to other partners as well, including TikTok, Zoom and even Angry Birds developer Rovio.

All MMA EVs will ship with the hardware needed for Level 2 automated driving. Mercedes is also working with NVIDIA and Luminar to offer Drive Pilot, a Level 3 automated driving system. The software will arrive later this year in 2024 EQS and S-Class models. Naturally, MB.OS will also enable Mercedes to deliver over-the-air updates, allowing it to add new features to existing cars.

The company isn’t shy about the fact that some upgrades may cost a one-time fee or come as part of a subscription package. In fact, Mercedes has already announced a handful of software bundles it will offer to owners of cars with MB.OS. MB.Connect, for instance, will bring together the company’s navigation, entertainment and communication features in one package. Other bundles, such as MB.Charge, will provide customers with priority access to Mercedes-Benz charging stations. The automaker says it will allow drivers to explore and buy upgrades for their Benz online, through the Mercedes mobile app and directly from the car.

“The company is confident that this strategic approach to software and hardware development will be the basis for lifetime revenues as well as additional contributions,” Mercedes said, adding it expects software revenue from bundles like MB.Connect to contribute “a low-to-mid single-digit billion euro figure” to its bottom line by mid-decade.