CES 2015: Mercedes F 015 shows its vision of the future

Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion concept previews the future of high-class transport

Mercedes has revealed its vision of an autonomous driving future at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The F 015 Luxury in Motion concept is what boss Dieter Zetsche calls “a mobile living space” featuring a lounge-like interior with four rotating chairs that can turn to face each other.

At over 5 metres long and 2 metres wide the concept is roughly the size of a long-wheelbase S-Class, but with a tear-shaped one-box design and wheelbase of 3610mm to maximise interior space. 

Carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic is combined with aluminium and steel to cut the body weight by around 40 percent, while both the front and rear-hinged doors open to 90 degrees with no B-pillar to aid access to the interior.

However, a mechanical interlocking system operated when the doors are closed ensures there’s the structural rigidity with minimal intrusion in the event of a crash. A development of the Pre-Safe system from the 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle enables part of the door structure to inflate like an airbag to further absorb energy in an impact.

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Inside hi-res display screens integrated into the dash, rear and side panels are controlled by eye-tracking, gesture control or touch and allow passengers to interact with the car and the outside world.

Organic materials such as open-pore walnut are used inside, along with leather, metal and glass for an advanced, luxury feel. And although the car will drive itself, if the driver turns his chair to the front the steering wheel automatically presents itself from the dashboard.

LED lights are used outside at the front and rear, not only to light the way but also to communicate with other cars and road users – they’ll glow white when the car is being driven manually and blue when the car’s computers are in control.

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The ultra-safe structure has been designed with a zero emissions hydrogen-powered fuel cell drive system, based on that from the 2011 F 125 research vehicle, with the fuel being stored in a special carbon fibre reinforced plastic tank.

The F 015 is part of what Mercedes calls its “City of the Future 2030+” scenario, using new technologies to allowing greater interaction between the car, its passengers and other road users. Mercedes is also looking into urban infrastructure design with special safety zones where only autonomous vehicles can drive and further urban spaces where autonomous cars park themselves on the outside.

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