Self-driving cars are gathering pace, with car manufacturers and tech giants alike racing to bring the technology to market. Mercedes-Benz has now joined the furore, with a new concept car outlining its vision for a driverless transport future.
Called the Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion (catchy, no?), the model features what the German brand is calling a "mobile living space", with a spacious four seat cabin that can be arranged in different configurations.
Helping create such a grandiose interior is the car's sheer size. At over five metres long, the F 015 is roughly the same size as Mercedes' largest S-Class saloon, with the wheels pushed as far as possible to each corner, to maximise interior space.
However, the body is made from a cocktail of lightweight carbon fibre and aluminium to reduce the total weight by a claimed 40 per cent over a standard steel body. The rear doors open in a suicide fashion, and interlock with the front doors using a special mechanism, which does away with the need for a B-pillar – further enhancing the sense of interior space.
Using technology created in conjunction with LG called 'Advanced Driving Assistance System', the F 015 uses a pair of cameras to monitor both the road ahead, and drivers themselves to ensure they are alert and driving safely. If the system detects that the driver has nodded off, or has not noticed a potential hazard, the car can automatically take control by slowing down or steering within its lane.
In keeping with its forward-thinking brief, the concept has been designed to be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, which can generate electricity on board to drive the wheels, with water being the only emission from the system.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz, commented: "We have the technology which makes autonomous driving reality in everyday traffic. We have a master plan in place to take the big leap required getting from technically feasible to commercially viable. The F 015 Luxury in Motion demonstrates where this may take us."