Mercedes-Benz has partnered with musician will.i.am to create a mind-blowing new audio experience that transforms your car into a musical instrument. Dubbed MBUX Sound Drive, this futuristic tech syncs driving dynamics to unique auto-generated tunes, essentially creating interactive soundtracks for your drive.
So how does it work? MBUX Sound Drive reacts in real-time to your driving behavior, taking inputs like acceleration, braking and speed and translating them into musical layers of bass, percussion, melody and vocals. Hit the brakes at a stoplight and it lays down a simple beat. Accelerate onto the highway and the track builds, growing more complex and crescendoing when you hit the speed limit. Yes, your Mercedes will actually start jamming out a customized song based on your driving!
According to Mercedes, the system won’t encourage speeding, since the music peaks at legal speeds then levels off. But it should make mundane commutes a lot more fun with an ever-changing soundtrack! MBUX Sound Drive debuted alongside Mercedes’ new MB.OS software, but will be available across current and future models.
This has to be one of the wildest car features out there. While other automakers use synthesized motor sounds to liven up silent EVs, Mercedes went the musical route. And drivers can choose between a variety of genres from around the world. The company even hopes to make MBUX Sound Drive an open platform for artists and musicians to compose on.
As will.i.am put it, “It opens up a whole new way to create sound designs. It’s no longer a two-minute experience. It’s multi-dimensional.” He envisions the tech allowing composers to “reshape music just by driving.” Imagine curating custom playlists where songs transform based on real-time inputs!
It may sound a bit gimmicky at first, but MBUX Sound Drive seems far more creative than the fake exhaust notes and acceleration sounds employed by the likes of Porsche, Ford and Audi. And early reviews are very positive, with drivers enjoying the interactive, immersive experience.
Though some worry it could become grating in heavy traffic, you can easily mute the system if so. Overall, this ingenious audio tech looks to make daily drives more entertaining and music more dynamic. Kudos to Mercedes for an outside-the-box approach to in-car sound.
This could be the beginning of a whole new art form – where composers create unique “driveable” music experiences. What do you think of MBUX Sound Drive? Game-changing genius or an annoying gimmick? Follow us @GearMusk.