The Internet is ablaze with news of Mercedes-Benz’s new autonomous car, the F015 Luxury in Motion — especially its interior, which looks more like a living room than a traditional vehicle cabin. Of course, if you’ve been following The Hog Ring, you already know what the inside of most self-driving concept cars look like. However, it’s still cool too see one up close.
The F015 made its debut yesterday at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to a mixed crowd of designers, tech geeks and auto enthusiasts — for good reason. Newsweek explains:
The automobile looks like something out of The Jetsons—if the Jetsons could afford a Benzo and had more earthbound tastes—and features four swiveling chairs that allow people in the car to face each other. Or, perhaps, spin in circles while playing Angry Birds.
The idea is to let driver and passengers interact during a ride, said Ralf Herrtwich, a senior engineer with the company.
Google has created several cars, such as modified versions of the Toyota Prius, that can drive themselves. So a self-driving car is not new. But it’s safe to say that this is the most premium and fully-realized autonomous automobile yet to see the light of day.
“We are the first ones to show how the interior of a car is [ideally] modified in autonomous driving,” Herrtwich said.
To this end, he explained, the car is built using a “carriage” concept, with the wheels put as far as possible toward the edges of the vehicle to allow space in the center for a driver and passengers. And its interior features gleaming panels that can can project a front-facing view of the car as it trundles along (or what would be seen out the windshield), meant to prevent the backward-facing driver from getting car-sick, Herrtwich noted.
Several displays toward the front let the driver see where the car is going and how fast, and allows them to text or make calls, surf the web or look for restaurant recommendations, he said.
“Most gadgets take up your time,” Zetsch said. “But autonomous cars like this one will become mobile homes, in the best sense of the word,” giving drivers the time and wherewithal do whatever they want while they get to their destination. [more]
Exciting as it sounds, don’t expect to see a F015 on the road any time soon. In addition to perfecting the engineering and design, Mercedes-Benz has to wait until government regulations are put in place to allow autonomous cars to operate. The automaker estimates that a version of the F015 won’t hit dealer lots until 2030. However, other – more hybrid – models could be made available sooner. After all, a number of automakers, and even tech-giants like Google, are developing their own driverless cars.