And you thought screens couldn’t get any bigger.
Mercedes-Benz on Thursday revealed a 56-inch screen that nearly spans the width of a new car’s interior, accelerating the auto industry’s race to turn the vehicle into a computer on wheels.
Daimler, the German automaker that manufactures the luxury automotive brand, said the MBUX Hyperscreen would debut this spring in its new electric sedan, the Mercedes-Benz EQS, in the spring.
The EQS is billed as the luxury automaker’s finest electric car and is expected to compete directly with vehicles like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan. It will debut as a 2022 model and while a starting price hasn’t been announced, Edmunds estimated $110,000.
The Hyperscreen’s virtual reveal was timed for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which is taking place online-only this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mercedes-Benz described the Hyperscreen as an OLED “curved screen panel” that “extends almost the entire width of the interior, from the left to the right A-pillar.”
The screen marks an escalation of the infotainment wars in the automotive industry. Tesla kickstarted the race by using a large, vertically positioned touchscreen in place of most controls typically located at the center console.
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But the Hyperscreen takes it a step further, even integrating analog air vents into breaks in the digital interface for HVAC purposes.
“The MBUX Hyperscreen is both the brain and nervous system of the car,” said Sajjad Khan, Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer, in a statement.
While the Hyperscreen is sure to fetch attention for its bold move to give the car’s interior almost entirely to digital controls, it is also likely to endure criticism from safety watchdogs who say that automakers need to do more to ensure drivers keep their eyes on the road.
“From a distraction point of view, at some point you will have screens that are in people’s peripheral vision, so that is a fine line to cross,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at car-research site Edmunds. “It sounds overwhelming.”
Mercedes-Benz said it has designed the system to ensure that people keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel by incorporating artificial intelligence to enable voice commands and hands-free predictive controls.
The screen, which works with the automaker’s Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, “continually gets to know the customer better and delivers a tailored, personalized infotainment and operating offerings without the occupant needing to click or scroll anywhere,” Khan said.
Daimler also said “the most important applications are always available in a situational and contextual way at the top of the driver’s field of vision.”
People sitting in the front passenger seat can train the system to provide personalized entertainment on the portion of the screen in front of them if allowed by law.
“If the passenger seat is not occupied the screen becomes a digital decorative part. In this case, animated stars i.e. the Mercedes-Benz pattern, are displayed,” Daimler said.
The 377-square-inch screen includes traditional data, such as speed and miles traveled, in a digital format in front of the driver. All graphics are styled in blue and orange.
Engineers curved the screen’s glass cover using a molding process at about 1,202 Fahrenheit.
It is equipped with 12 actuators to enable haptic feedback in relevant areas when touched.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mercedes-Benz Hyperscreen: At CES Daimler debuts huge curved car panel