Right at the gates of Stuttgart, the German city famous for Gottlieb Daimler’s invention of the automobile almost 130 years ago, a team of engineers try to ensure the company has an even longer future.
The team of engineers needs to figure out if the people means people won’t own or even drive the cars, with the members of Daimler AG’s business innovation division trying to envision how future customers would use or need the automaker’s models and products. They explore anything, from car-sharing in Chinese megacities to 3-D printed classic car parts, drones for parcel services and an autonomous concept car that can also become a luxury lunge. “As the inventor of the automobile, we see our role in reinventing the car of the future,” commented Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche. With accelerating megatrends, the future autos are likely to “differ more starkly from today’s vehicles than has been the case over the past 10 to 20 years.”
With transportation evolving to become more akin to a service, rather than product, changes introduced by companies such as Google, Uber Technologies or Tesla have triggered a necessary response from traditional automakers, such as Daimler. They have now reacted and started to make their own bold predictions about the future of mobility. Zetsche’s well known think tank was involved in the early development and virtualization of the latest “F” prototype – a long line of concept cars that Mercedes used to stir imagination. The splashy, ultra-luxurious F 105 has been though to have a third function (beyond work or home) – much in the like of conventional coffee shops, sports centers or bars.