Mercedes-Benz created the first automobile in 1886 with the Benz Patent Motor Car, and the company says that its new autonomous car concept is equally revolutionary for the future of “personal mobility.” Called the F 015 Luxury in Motion, this futuristic-looking car views self-driving tech as a way to enhance luxury and comfort while giving passengers more freedom within the lounge-like environment of the interior.
The first thing you’ll notice about the F 015 is its unusual, pod-like shape. The streamlined, teardrop profile looks like nothing else on the road, and the short front and rear overhangs combine with a long wheelbase (20 inches longer than that of an S-Class) to make for an extremely spacious interior. LED light clusters front and rear provide both lighting and display blue illumination when the car is driving autonomously.
Thanks to an unusual bodyshell that uses high-strength carbon-fiber, aluminum, and steels, the F 015 does away with B-pillars, meaning that the suicide doors provide a wide, uninterrupted access portal into the interior. The seating concept is unusual as well, with four individual “lounge chairs” that can swivel to face each other. White Nappa leather along with metal and glass trim give off a distinctly modern, simplistic vibe, and blue LED lights combine with six display screens to provide all sorts of connectivity functions to the passengers. These screens can be personalized for each passenger, and are controlled with gesture controls and eye-tracking software.
Mercedes-Benz is not providing many details on the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept’s powertrain, but does say that the car uses an electric drivetrain powered by a fuel cell. A carbon-fiber pressure tank holds hydrogen, which supplies electricity to a compact battery that then powers an electric motor. Autonomous driving is enabled by Mercedes-Benz’s “Intelligent Drive” suite of technologies, which include all sorts of cameras and sensors as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-environment connectivity that helps the car adapt and read its surroundings.
This concept fits into Mercedes-Benz’s larger vision for the future, which entails an entire “City of the Future 2030+” that’s meant to use autonomous cars to further urban infrastructure design. The idea is that certain areas of a city would be open to only autonomous cars like the F 015. These so-called “safety zones” would help save space and reduce the stress of driving in urban environments, since cars like the F 015 are able to interact with other autonomous vehicles as well as the surrounding environment.
Though we may not be seeing the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion going into production anytime soon, we do expect aspects of this concept car to make their way into future Mercedes-Benz models sooner rather than later. Mercedes-Benz has previously stated its intentions to put an autonomous car on sale by 2020, and has demonstrated its technology on public roads in an S-Class equipped with Intelligent Drive.