The third largest luxury automaker in the world, Stuttgart-based Mercedes-Benz is ready to break the boundaries of traditional auto making and seems intent on turning the car into a pricey self-driving lounge on wheels.
Mercedes-Benz, one of the global automakers deeply entrenched into the autonomous driving race, plans to offer a car that in the near future can chauffeur its passengers when the driver doesn’t want to… drive. Dieter Zetsche, chief executive officer of Mercedes parent Daimler AG was among the keynote speakers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where he talked about the importance of connectivity in cars, the upcoming introduction of autonomous vehicles and the bridging gaps between the tech and auto worlds. He also took to present there – instead during next week’s Detroit NAIAS – the F 015 concept vehicle. This is the latest in an already traditional series of “F” concepts and the vehicle features swiveling front seats that can face the rear row, while the steering wheel recedes into the instrument panel and the car begins to drive itself.
Owing to the concept status, the F 105 boasts sculpted open-pore walnut wood veneers and ice-white leather that would befit any luxury lounge chill-out venue, but also showcases the future by providing passengers with six screens for a complete human-machine interaction via touch, hand gestures and eye-tracking. Also called the Luxury in Motion prototype, the Mercedes concept is just part f the broader autonomous approach, as traditional automakers face unexpected competition from technology companies such as Google Inc.’s self-piloting car. Another keen example is Audi, which had an automated Audi A7 embark on a 560-mile (900-kilometer) journey in Las Vegas – after last year they showcased how a self-piloting car enacts performance stunts by having an unmanned RS7 driving on a circuit at racing speeds.