What car can pilot itself, seat four in complete comfort, and has interactive touch screens all the way around the cabin? It is the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept shown this week at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas, NV. Actually, Mercedes calls this car a “research vehicle” as many before it. Various technologies and ideas from these research cars make their way to production cars.
The F 015 is a physically large autonomous vehicle (larger than a current S-Class). The body structure is a cocoon of safety and technology. It uses carbon fiber reinforced plastics, aluminum, and high strength steels for a light-weight and structurally sound package.
The four doors open “suicide” style and can operate independently of each other. The four luxurious chairs swivel to create an upscale lounge or a mobile meeting room. Mercedes thinks that the car of the future will transform from a method of transportation and into a mobile living space. The interior door panels, dash, and the table are all touch screens with gesture controls and eye tracking.
Still, it’s interesting that the F 015 offers a small steering wheel and two pedals up front. Could it be that a human can actually operate this car in an emergency or when the mood is right? If so, how does it drive? Outward visibility is poor, but the giant dashboard mounted screen and windshield projection can help the driver see their surroundings. Mercedes did not specify the power train, but mentioned that the chassis is strong enough to hold a fuel-cell unit.
Mercedes even created a “City of the Future 2030+” environment in which the F 015 could exist and offer its occupants not only a method of conveyance, but also provide additional time and space in which to get away from the urban life.
The F 015 is also able to visually communicate with the outsize world via messages spelled out in its front or rear LED light arrays, or by projecting images on the road surface via lasers. For example, the car is courteous enough to project a virtual crosswalk on the road as it stops to let a pedestrian cross in front. This may be over-thinking it a bit, but still is a cool idea.
Do you remember a 1993 Sylvester Stallone movie “Demolition Man”? It took place in 2032 and police cars they used had a similar shape and autonomous function to that of the F 015.
Watch this F 015 introduction video from Mercedes-Benz to get the glimpses into the future of fully autonomous motoring.
and here is a very dark preview of the F 015 interior.