Mercedes has unveiled it’s vision for a self-driving future last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the shape of The F015 Luxury In Motion concept car.
2 states in the US (California & Nevada), as well as Germany have already given a license to test the self driving cars on public roads, and it looks very likely the UK will soon be following suite.
It makes perfect sense, cause after all there can be no doubt that autonomous cars promote greater safer and help traffic flow.
Google’s self driving car (which has already clocked up over 700’000 test miles) appears to be leading the way, but it’s now rumored Audi, as well as Nissan, General Motors, and even Continental are going to be getting in on the act, however it’s the guys at Mercedes Benz who have been next to show their hand.
We are still however some way off seeing them regularly on our streets, and that may be why the F015 looks like it is from the future.
The low-slung front end, smooth and streamlined roof line, flat front windscreen and road-hugging rear end give the F015 an extended and decidedly dynamic silhouette, that measures 17 feet in length while only 5 feet in height.
The shape is aerodynamic in the extreme, but still features subtle details and styling cues. Whether that be the small dorsal ridge on the roof, the simply huge 26-inch wheels and the Cylon-like, wraparound taillights.
Carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic is combined with aluminium and steel to cut the body weight by around 40%, whilst both the front and rear-hinged doors open to 90 degrees to aid access to the interior……and what an interior it is!
The cabin (basically the inside) as it is currently being called, is typically luxurious, while also doubling as a rolling lounge with seating for four people. The chairs are trimmed in ice-white nappa leather, cradled in polished aluminium mounts, and highlighted with blue LED strips. It is basically a mobile living space. The F015's cabin also features fine woods (including a walnut dashboard) and leathers, as well as seats that swivel around to face each other.
Six high-resolution touch-screen display panels on the inside of the doors allow passengers to use touch, gestures, or eye movements to navigate, browse, or see outside the car.
Back on the outside the LED screens at the front and rear are designed to engage and interact with pedestrians, pedestrians that the same sensors that keep the car out the way of other cars also recognise. The screens will also glow white when the car is being driven manually, and blue when the car’s computers are in control – oh yeah we forgot to mention that it can be driven manually!
Powered by Mercedes' zero emission hydrogen fuel cell tech, the F015's electrical drive system produces 272bhp overall, and its 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds, 124mph top speed and 682 mile range all sound marvelous.
The Mercedes F015 looks set to be an out of this world driving experience……that’s if you can actually call it driving any more?!
For further information please see the Mercedes-Benz website.