MBUX stands for the Mercedes-Benz User Experience. It’s a multimedia system that is intuitive, capable of learning, and based on artificial intelligence, and it’s going into series production in the new A-Class in 2018. The unique features of MBUX are the high-resolution widescreen cockpit, the intuitive user experience, and the intelligent voice control system with natural voice recognition. Marco Santi, 39, and his team are primarily responsible for the development of MBUX. In this interview, Santi offers some insights into his daily work.
Could you please briefly introduce yourself?
I’m a team leader at the User Interaction department and responsible for the development of the instrument cluster and the head-up display of the new MBUX infotainment generation. In addition, we are responsible for the display texts in all Mercedes-Benz cars. We formulate the texts, delegate the translations, and deliver them to the respective software projects.
What does “user experience” mean at Daimler?
Since the invention of the smartphone, everyone knows that a seamless operating and display concept is essential for success on the market. Customers don’t merely appreciate simple and intuitive operation — they demand it. That applies especially to cars. That’s why we are always guided by the customer’s perspective in our daily work. This is how we make sure that our products fulfill our customers’ requirements. Ideally, they even exceed them. In short, we are shaping the future of user interaction both inside and outside the vehicle.
Can you tell us a bit more about the development process of MBUX? How did the project begin?
The development process of MBUX started three years ago. We wanted to develop something new that would integrate itself seamlessly into the world of our customers. At the same time, we wanted it to be elegant, simple, and intuitive. We wanted to transform science fiction into reality and to create the ultimate mobile experience with permanent connectivity.
What kinds of challenges were involved?
Our goals were also our biggest challenges. It’s difficult to create something new that is not only initially attractive but also satisfies our customers’ various requirements over a long useful life. But we’ve achieved that with MBUX.
Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work. What’s exciting about your job?
For us, just about everything is exciting. Our job is to come up with concepts for interaction, implement these concepts in the software, and test how they are put into practice. The team consists of experts in different areas of specialization, because that’s the only way we can have a variety of perspectives flow into our work. We are also in close contact with our colleagues in sales, quality management, and the vehicle and component projects.
What job profiles are you increasingly looking for in the User Interaction department? What kinds of skills should the job applicants have?
We’re looking for people who orient their activities according to our customers’ requirements and who would like to shape the future. They should have a critical perspective on things that already exist, not be intimidated by contrary opinions, be team players, be willing to take on responsibility, show initiative, have a desire to continuously learn new things, and always be on the lookout for the best, most intuitive, and most promising interaction concepts. Because we are developing MBUX ourselves, we’re looking for people who have not only these qualities but also skills in the area of software development.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?
When I was a student, I was already enthusiastic about these themes, the possibilities they offer, and the people at Daimler. That’s why I realized very soon that I would like to work here. I made my first contact with the Group in 2003 when I was working on my diploma in psychology. After receiving my diploma, I participated in a work-study program and an internship in Portland, USA. In 2009 I joined the User Interaction department in the area of development in Sindelfingen.