On Monday night, at the CES consumer electronics show, Mercedes Benz amazed everybody with its new self-driving luxury car, F 015 Luxury in Motion. Although it won’t be available until 2030, the car persuaded both industry and customers that the future for Mercedes is automatous.
Dieter Zetsche, head of the Mercedes-Benz, said during the annual event held in Las Vegas that people should not only focus on technology, but keep an eye on self-driving cars and the way they would change the future.
The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport, and will ultimately become a mobile living space,”
Mr. Zetsche also said.
And indeed, the luxury car is mainly designed for maximizing comfort, rather than driving. Manual driving is just a side-activity. F 015 is very spacious. Inside, four people can easily lounge on the four very comfortable swiveling chairs that can rotate 30 degrees when the doors open.
The two chairs closer to the steering wheel can also rotate to face the windshield whenever manual driving is required. The steering wheel can be easily hidden by folding it into the dashboard when it is no longer necessary.
The car has also six screens in the instrument panel and side and rear panels designed for infotainment purposes.
The car drives itself by gathering the necessary data through a radar system, stereo cameras and ultrasonic sensors. The headlights and grille lights turn blue when the car is on self-driving mode, or white if a person is driving it.
F 015 is made of light carbon fiber, steel and aluminum. It recharges with hydrogen fuel, and has a battery that gets recharged on a charge pad. Charge pads and hydrogen cars will soon be an alternative to superchargers and electric cars.
Automakers and analysts were puzzled why Mercedes would come to the show with such a jewel that would only become available in 15 years time completely redesigned.
Experts said that Mercedes’ move was not unnecessary. It showed people that the company was interested in self-driving cars and similar technologies. It was not a question of if this car would ever hit the road, it was when, experts explained.
Once you get to the self driving car, you get this issue with a luxury brand like Mercedes or BMW’s ‘Ultimate driving machine. How do you translate that? They still want to sell the car as a product not a service,”
Egil Juliussen, director at IHS Automotive, said.
By 2017, experts said that Cadillac, Audi and Tesla Motors would also offer the self-driving feature for their high-end models.
Image Source: Mercedes-Benz