It has become hip for automakers to unveil new in-car technology at the International Consumer Electronics Show. Mercedes-Benz decided to venture even further into the future by previewing a research vehicle that could pave the way for the company to join the likes of Google and Tesla among the pioneers of self-driving cars.
The interestingly titled F 015 Luxury in Motion follows the German automaker’s previously announced autonomous driving concepts in S 500 Intelligent Drive and the Future Truck 2025. The latest vehicle underscores Mercedes-Benz’ belief that a car will be more like a “private retreating space” than a mode of transportation.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of of management at Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, noted that his company sees a future in which “anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society.”
The concept’s body is 40 percent lighter than most production vehicle’s today thanks to Smart Body Structure, which combines carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and steels. The body design stands out with its “saloon-door-style system” with rear-hinged rear doors; all the doors open up to 90 degree angle, with B-pillars eliminated altogether.
The F 015 displays the luxury touches and design that give away that it’s a concept. From the monolithic interior to large LED lights in the front and rear, the futuristic outlook is evident. The LED modules are not just for lighting, but also communicating when it’s in self-drive mode – the light is blue – and when it is being driven, the light is white.
Connectivity is on full display inside the concept as Mercedes-Benz has six screens inside its plush interior, “integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels” to turn the F 015 into a “digital arena.”
The F 015’s body is based on the F-Cell plug-in hybrid system introduced in the F 125 in 2011 that integrates an electric drive with fuel cell. The concept generates electricity onboard through a high-voltage battery while a CFRP-constructed pressure tank stores hydrogen.
The four-seater’s wheelbase is large – 11.8 feet to be exact – and this aspect is meant to add to the “lounge-like interior” and a flair of luxury. The interior’s four rotating lounge chairs allow passengers to sit face-to-face. Further, “passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high-resolution screens.”
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz