TikTok is coming to cars, starting with Mercedes-Benz

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TikTok, the social media app, is everywhere it seems. It is even making its way into vehicles, starting with the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class coming to market in autumn 2023.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with an updated version of the MBUX infotainment system – a precursor to the automaker’s bespoke operating system called MB.OS. Mercedes plans to launch MB.OS in next-generation vehicles that are expected to hit the market by the end of 2024.

TikTok isn’t the only app coming to the Mercedes E-Class. But it is one of the more interesting choices as it illustrates Mercedes’ interest and presence in the Chinese market. TikTok will also be available in the new Mercedes E-Class in other markets, including the United States.

“It is very, very relevant,” Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius said of TikTok in Asia. “Let’s not forget that the average age of an S-Class owner in China is around or under 40.”

“When we choose all these different apps, we go market by market or region by region,” he added. “We look at what is used most: music or film [and] and so on – and we tried to go down that list.

The recently updated MBUX system, which will have a “superscreen” spanning the entire dashboard, will allow drivers to click on the TikTok app and watch videos when the vehicle is parked. Passengers can also get in on the action as they can access a portion of the screen directly in front of them. The passenger screen has a limited field of view, preventing the driver from seeing TikTok videos playing on that screen. A driver tracking system also keeps track of what the driver is looking at.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Interior

Image Credits: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes is also making Zoom video conferencing, Angry Birds, Vivaldi web browser and Webex by Cisco apps available in the E-Class infotainment system. And more will likely arrive in the vehicle through over-the-air software updates.

Mercedes created a new software architecture to make it easier to integrate third-party apps into the infotainment system. It also has a new app store, which can be accessed via the Mercedes me app.

The interior of the upcoming E-Class was just one of the announcements and debuts made Wednesday at the automaker’s research and development center in Sunnyvale, California. Mercedes and Google have announced a long-term partnership designed to give the German automaker control of its IP and marketplace, while offering driver navigation, maps and YouTube from the tech giant.

Mercedes also revealed the details behind its proprietary operating system, dubbed MB.OS (expected to debut in its next-generation vehicles in the middle of the decade), and an extensive partnership with lidar company Luminar.

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