Forerunner Of An Autonomous Automotive Revolution
With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE and the Future Truck 2025, Mercedes-Benz has already made the vision of autonomous driving a reality. The new research vehicle F 015 Luxury in Motion had its world premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show, providing an example of the visionary ideas the company is developing. With this self-driving luxury sedan, Mercedes-Benz illustrates how the car is growing beyond its role as a means of transport and demonstrating how the vehicle will ultimately become a private space.
Progressing from the self-propelled (“automotive”) to the self-reliant (“autonomous”) vehicle, as a pioneer, Mercedes-Benz goes far beyond the purely technical realization of automated driving. People are always at the center of such considerations. Just as the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car and its successors revolutionized personal mobility and, as a consequence, society as a whole, the first self-driving cars will also bring about major changes.
With the huge amount of space in its lounge-like interior, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion takes the concepts of comfort and luxury to a new level. Every facet of the vehicle reflects perfectly the Mercedes way of interpreting the terms “modern luxury”, emotion and intelligence.
It is obvious that the F 015 represents the vision of a brand new vehicle concept just from its futuristic appearance and its unusual proportions: a seamless, monolithic exterior and large LED light modules at the front and rear. A range of different lighting functions can be provided through these LED fields, which allow vehicle communication and interaction with the outside world.
The F 015 Luxury in Motion designers have created a lounge-like interior with an atmosphere of well-being; a space with an ambiance characterized by elegance, quality and lightness. Flowing transitions and warm, organic materials such as open-pore walnut wood shaped into a three-dimensional veneer, and soft white leather contrast with clearly-defined metal and glass surfaces giving the vehicle a cool and technical feel. Each seating mount has a contrasting light band of blue LED lights and can also be manually swiveled.
The pivotal feature of the innovative interior concept is the variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. In order to make getting in and out of the car easier, the electrically powered seats also swing out by 30 degrees as soon as the doors are opened. If necessary, the driver and front-seat passenger can also turn their eyes and attention towards the front, necessary for manual driving. When in manual drive, the steering wheel extends automatically from the dashboard.
A key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between passengers and the outside world. Six display screens are integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels, turning the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion into a digital arena. Passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high- resolution screens. Sensors recognize the passengers’ hands and offer them user interfaces within convenient reach, presenting operating options for each situation.
Part of the future is happening right now. Currently vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are capable of detecting different hazards on the road and reacting as the situation demands. Autonomous braking, for instance and from the C-Class through to the S-Class, there are already Mercedes-Benz models driving semi-autonomously on public roads today, equipped with features such as DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and the Stop&Go Pilot semi- autonomous vehicle following function.
Mercedes-Benz has clearly demonstrated that autonomous driving is possible now, even in complex urban and rural traffic situations. The close-to-production Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE completed the approximately 100-kilometer journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim fully autonomously, following the route Bertha Benz took in 1888 on the first ever long-distance drive by car.
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The19thholemag.Com | Images: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz