Let’s forget the Apple Watch for a moment to discuss one of the most futuristic things we’ve seen in a long time: The Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving car concept.
While still a concept car (unveiled earlier this year at CES), San Francisco residents were able to spot the autonomous vehicle in action in the city last weekend. We assume that Mercedes-Benz was filming some sort of promotional video about the F 015 for an event happening later this month in the Bay area.
With the F 015, Mercedes is making tangible progress toward the self-driving future. First and foremost, this connected vehicle is designed as a private retreat that incorporates many various aspects of day-to-day mobility.
“Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. […] The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.” – Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The vehicle body has a futuristic, attractive shape, and offers a maximum of space and comfort on the inside. One core innovation is the variable seating, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. Thanks to six displays installed all around, passengers can interact with the car by means of hand gestures or eye tracking, and by touching the high-resolution screens.
Everything has LED and acoustic signals for greater safety. The F 015 can sense a pedestrian ahead and even project a crosswalk onto the ground thanks to a laser projection system.
Last but not least, the F 015 can cover distances similar to those of a comparable diesel-engined car (≈ 680 miles), but purely on electric power with zero local emissions.
We don’t expect to see cars with autonomous capabilities on the market before 2020, but we love the seismic shift implied by the Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept: a fundamental change in vehicle design, greater safety on the road, and new mobility options for more productive activities.