When inside the Mercedes-Benz’s self-driving car, one referred to as “Luxury in Motion”, you’ll need to find things to do other than drive.
There are cars, and then there are self-driving cars. There are carmakers and then there’s Mercedes.
Combine the two, what you get is one pretty darn enticing autonomous car project.
Mercedes Pioneering Autonomous Vehicle Dream
“Prometheus” (not Ridley Scott’s polarizing entry in the Alien movie franchise) is Mercedes’s autonomous vehicle project that is a pioneer of the driverless vehicle industry.
Standing for the “Program for a European Traffic of Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety”, Prometheus was launched all the way back in 1986.
This R&D project enabled Mercedes-Benz to develop and implement many autonomous technologies such as cruise control and vehicle tracking–which are still used today.Mercedes-Benz F 015 is a self-driving mobile lounge.Click To Tweet
Partly autonomous, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes with DRIVE PILOT, an array of advanced driver-assistance features. The latest E-Class Benzs monitor the flow of traffic, can stop and park, all by itself, however, it still requires an alert driver inside.
No model illustrates Mercedes-Benz’s “full autonomy” dream quite like the F 015.
“Luxury in Motion”, Driverless Cars According to Mercedes
In January 2015, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES Las Vegas), Mercedes unveiled its autonomous car named “F 015 Luxury in Motion”.
In a true Mercedes-Benz fashion, the four-seater F 015 is audacious inside and out, with executive lounge touches of Nappa leather and walnut wood.
There are 14 CPUs on board the F 015, 4 of which power the autonomous systems, and the other 10 (all Macbook Pros) power displays and the overall UX.
The swivel seats create an open space to allow face-to-face interaction between passengers as the car drives them around.
Six Ultra HD displays and various controls are installed to make interaction with the internet-connected car as intuitive as possible, via gesture-recognition and eye tracking systems.
To reduce the weight of the F 015, and thus power consumption, its body is made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).
For propulsion, the F 015 relies on an electric hybrid system that ensures a total of 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) of green driving, between the battery and the fuel cell.
The F 015 offers autonomy range that’s close to diesel-powered cars, while emitting zero carbon.
Has the F 015 Aged Before it Officially Hits the Road?
As of now, Mercedes-Benz has yet to communicate the F 015 price or official release date.
Mercedes Benz thinks that the term “concept” isn’t the description that best fits the F 015 and refer to it instead as a “research vehicle”. Most media just call the car a “prototype”.
Semantics aside, even after being around for over two years and a half–which isn’t that long in such a niche–Mercedes-Benz ambitious take on self-driving cars seems to be still relevant.
As an example of the car marker’s forward thinking design, Mercedes-Benz engineers anticipated the future of mobility (think 2030s) when designing the F 015.
Thought of as a mobile private retreat, hence the nickname “Luxury in Motion”, the F 015’s autonomous mobility would also have societal value, in terms of its safety and environmental impact.
The “Luxury in Motion” was last seen last July when golfer Henrik Stenson arrived at the British Open driving one, turning many heads.
Mercedes F 015 is a Work in Progress and is Open to Feedback
While parts of this car have become outdated, take the less-than-optimal 32-inch touchscreen doors, for example, engineer Thomas Jaeger says that the project itself has taught them much about designing and producing the perfect autonomous car.
“When we made the car, the idea of a single curved display was just impossible. Nowadays we know we could go to one or two suppliers and have it made.” Jaeger told CNN.
While the engineering team has paid close attention to outside feedback, they have opted to gather a long list of possible updates rather than continuously tinker with the car.