Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off its mysterious concept at the CES 2015 in Las Vegas – a self-driving luxury sedan called F 015 Luxury in Motion.
As with all Mercedes-Benz F concepts, this one is a futuristic study, with the automaker saying that it “shows how the automobile is changing from a means of transportation to a private retreating space.”
Mercedes-Benz also says the F 015 study is its answer to a rapidly changing world. By 2030, the number of mega-cities with more than 10 million inhabitants will increase from about 30 to over 40. This means driving a car in the city will become more and more difficult and frustrating, which is where the F 015 comes in.
“The single most important luxury goods of the 21st century are private space and time. Autonomously driving cars by Mercedes-Benz shall offer exactly that. With the F 015 Luxury in Motion, this revolutionary concept of mobility becomes tangible for the first time,” says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The F 015 Luxury in Motion offers a generous space in a lounge-like interior, which allows a continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers, and the outside world.
The highlight of the F 015’s interior concept is the variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. All four passengers can use their time aboard to work, to relax or to communicate. Additionally, in order to make getting in and out of the car easier, the electrically powered seats also swing outwards by 30 degrees as soon as the doors are opened. If necessary, the driver and front-seat passenger can also turn their eyes and attention towards the front – when manual driving is wanted. To this end the steering wheel extends automatically from the dashboard.
The research vehicle continuously exchanges information with the passengers and the outside world via six display screens integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels. Passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high-resolution screens. By means of laser projection and LED displays, the electrically propelled F 015 Luxury in Motion establishes contact to the outside world and is a real social partner in traffic, according to Mercedes-Benz.
As you have probably noticed by looking at the photos, the F 015 has unusual proportions: it’s 5,220mm long, 2,018mm wide and 1,524mm tall. It also has an unusually large wheelbase of 3,610mm in order to provide the maximum possible space for the passengers.
The vehicle features a seamless, monolithic exterior with large LED light modules at the front and rear which have a range of different lighting functions. The LED fields also allow the F 015 to communicate and interact with the outside world. For example, these LED fields show if the F 015 is driving autonomously (blue) or is controlled manually (white).
The study’s bodyshell is about 40 percent lighter compared with today’s production vehicles, thanks to the use of new materials and structures such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and high-strength steels. The vehicle has an electric drive system with fuel cell, based on the F-Cell Plug-In Hybrid system seen in the F 125! research vehicle from 2011.