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Self-driving - The future is upon us


We’ve all watched The Jetsons before - that cartoon depicting life in a futuristic suburbia complete with robotic domestic helpers and flying cars. Now we’re in an age where George Jetson himself would feel comfortable with Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Google all producing self-driving vehicles. Imagine going to work in your personal vehicle and watching your favorite series, sporting highlights or even playing games? It’s coming… sooner than you’d think.

→ Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion

As the German manufacturer so eloquently states, its self-driving luxury sedan concept shows “…how the car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a private retreating space…”

→ People carrier

As you can see from the image, the F 015 is a big vehicle with a length of 5 220mm, a width of 2 018mm and 1 524mm high. The long wheelbase and short overhangs and the fact that it only has seating for four, means it’s been made to maximize the amount of space to enhance comfort and luxury. Think of it as a very fancy train carriage, only with added privacy and the flexibility to avoid those pesky railroads.

→ Design

Outside, the Mercedes features what it calls a monolithic exterior with large LED light modules at the front and rear. The lights can show if the car is being driven autonomously (blue) or manually (white) while at the rear a short message such as “Stop” or “Slow” can be displayed. Yes, those are 26-inch wheels that are cross-drilled into five areas of aluminium.There is a low front end, a streamlined roof line and a flat-front windshield.

→ Inside the lounge

Inside has been designed to be lounge-like with organic materials such as walnut wood and soft ice white Nappa leather, which contrasts with metal and glass surfaces. There’s also a variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration.

→ Screens, screens and more screens

The autonomous concept features several display screens to provide occupants with information. There’s the traditional main display in the dashboard, a head-up display in the windshield area, touch screens in the sides of the vehicle, a screen between the rear seats as well as a rear table with extending touch-sensitive display for games or video conferences.

→ How does it know?

The autonomous Benz works by using 360-degree stereo cameras as well as radar and ultrasonic sensors to relay data. The GPS data together with the accurate 3D navigation maps make sure the position can be pinpointed to the exact centimetre.

The F 015 identifies its owner or user by means of their smartphone or wearable device. Once the user has been authenticated, the doors open automatically and the seats swivel into position.

→ Pick-me-up Mercedes

The F 015 becomes an integral part of the cloud which means that if you are an authorized user you can access the vehicle’s information and functions from your PC, Tablet or Smartphone. This means, you can send it to pick the kids up from school while you’re at work and then later it will ensure that you get a parking space at the mall after it drops you off at the entrance.

→ The way of the future

We’ve been sitting around dreaming up some of the benefits of automated driving here at Autodealer. Imagine driving down to your holiday destination and letting the car do all the work, while you watch a movie with the family or, driving to work and being able to read all those e-mails before getting to the office. This is the kind of future that we can see ourselves in, in about 15 years’ time and if we get tired of it, there’s a manual mode where we can still experience driving. 

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