We are now one step closer to the Jetsons. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday, Mercedes-Benz revealed the F 015 Luxury in Motion, their shiny new version of the self-driving car. As is to be expected from Mercedes (and as the vehicle's name suggests), their concept car is like no self-driving car we've seen. Namely, it's super fancy-shmancy.
"The single most important luxury goods of the 21st century are private space and time," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in a press release. "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."
So, how does it work? The F 015 uses laser projection and LED displays to interact with the outside world and other drivers (detecting road hazards, navigating traffic, etc.). The car also features six display screens that are integrated into the front, rear, and side panels. Passengers can interact with these screens through gesture, eye-tracking, or touch. The car's exterior lights are also color-coded to indicate to other drivers that this is a self-driving car—if the lights glow white, it means the car is being driven manually (by a human); blue lights (as seen in the top photo) indicate self-driving mode.
Also cool is the car's unique interior. The F 015 has a "variable seating system," which means that its four seats can swivel to face any direction. Passengers can face one another or adopt a more standard seating arrangement. And (safety first!) when the car switches to manual mode, the driver seat is set to automatically swivel to a front-facing position.
Mercedes hasn't yet revealed when these cars will be available for consumers—but it seems we'll be able to get our hands on a bit of science fiction in a matter of years, not decades.
All images courtesy Mercedes-Benz