The dream of autonomous cars are getting more and more buzz lately, and big manufacturers like Ford, Audi and Mercedes-Benz weren’t keen on letting Google get all the glory. Over in North Hall, Mercedes unveiled their new concept of driverless car, a pod-like living room on wheels set to meld the comfort of home with the technology of tomorrow.
“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.”
Once inside, the chairs can swivel round so that the passengers are facing each other. Six screens are integrated throughout the interior, offering connectivity and entertainment for everyone inside.
Created with carbon fiber reinforced plastic, aluminum and steel, its exterior would weigh around 40% less than today’s production cars of a similar size. Despite being lighter, the company said the structure would not be weakened due to the combination of strengthened materials and external beltline positioned below its windows that would inflate in the case of a side-on collision. Of course, the vehicle also comes with a manual mode that, at the push of a button, ejects a steering wheel from the dashboard and turns the driver seat forward to face forward and assume control.
Despite a fancy presentation, Zetsche was quick to point out that their vision won’t become a reality anytime soon, as a slide popped up prompting us to imagine the world of 2030. He also went on to describe a city where cars like theirs would fit right in, a mesh between humans and robotics, nature and smart-devices.
Although autonomous vehicles like the F 015 Luxury are still a long ways off from becoming a common appearance (or even affordable to an average consumer), Mercedes is already peaking ahead to what the world might be like, and if their concept is anything close to reality, then Google will need to do some upgrading.