Mercedes has unveiled its latest concept car, the F015 Future In Motion, which highlights the company’s vision for the autonomous cars of the future.
Much like several other recent autonomous concepts we’ve seen, the design centres around the idea of maximising space in the car and allowing driver and passengers alike to spin round and face each other in the centre of the vehicle.
This is achieved by having the wheels as close as possible to the corners of the car, to maximise that internal space, something that itself is only achievable thanks to the use of compact electric motors, rather than a traditional engine.
Further enhancing this sense of a communal space are the doors, which both open towards the centre of the car, creating one large opening. Each door also includes a touchscreen control surface so that each passenger can tailor their section of the car to their needs.
The exterior design is classic concept car stuff, with an undulating bare metal body nearly entirely bisected by a huge front to back windscreen and huge 26in custom alloy wheels finishing off the look.
Surprisingly, though, the car is quite low-slung – this is no boring old family wagon.
Mercedes steered clear of talking much about the underlying technology that powers the autonomous side of the vehicel, instead choosing to focus on the design and feel of the car but there were a few clues as to where the company sees the technoogy going.
First, the car still included a steering wheel as it doesn’t forsee a near future where the driver won’t, on occasion, want to take over proceedings.
The front and back of the car also hosted an array of lights which Mercedes envision will be used to help the car communicate with humans outside the car. For instance they could follow the path of a pedestrian walking in front of the car to indicate that the car has seen them. Meanwhile the rear lights could also show this to indicate to cars behind that a passenger is crossing in front.
The company has also installed an laser projector to project a pretend zebra crossing on the road ahead, along with a loudspeaker that can tell pedestrians “go ahead and cross.”
The F015 is an impression vision of things to come, but just how long we’ll be waiting before its ilk fill our roads is a question yet to be answered.