Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its vision for the future of motoring at CES 2015 with a pod-like concept car, which is designed to function as a mobile luxury living space.
“Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society,” explained head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche. “The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”
The concept design for the F 015 Luxury in Motion features a large interior space, finished in walnut, glass, leather and aluminium, along with four individual lounge chairs for optimum comfort.
Once inside, the chairs swivel round so that the passengers are facing each other. Six screens – controlled with eye-tracking and gesture recognition – are integrated throughout the interior, offering connectivity and entertainment.
“Drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable,” said head of group research and Mecedes-Benz cars development Thomas Weber. “The time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality.”
The concept vehicle can also be placed in manual mode, where a steering wheel would emerge from the dashboard and the driver and passenger seats turn automatically to face the direction of travel.
Large LED light modules on the front and back of the car show which mode it's operating in, with white lights indicating manual driving and a blue hue for when it's in autonomous mode.
Created with carbon fiber reinforced plastic, aluminium and steel, its exterior would weigh around 40 percent less than today's production cars of a similar size.
The city of the future, unveiled
As part of the research conducted for the F 015 Luxury in Motion, Mercedes-Benz also developed a forward-looking scenario called ‘City of the Future 2030+’.
The future of urban infrastructure design – as envisioned by Mercedes-Benz – will consist of special ‘safety zones’, much like today's low-emission zones in city centres, that are only open to autonomous vehicles.
Urban space could also be reclaimed as a result of autonomous vehicles parking themselves outside of a city's central areas.
“In the shared space of the future, humans and machines share the roads,” said Mercedes-Benz in a statement. “The 'car-friendly city' is transformed increasingly into the 'people-friendly city' without any loss of individual freedom”.
“The divide between residential, recreational and traffic areas therefore melts away.”