A self-driving car sounds pretty sci-fi if you think about it. We have seen such things in movies which present a version of how our future will look like, or in cartoons, which make everything possible within their universe, for the astonishing imaginative powers of children. But have you ever considered that fact that some day you will be able to travel to your destination in car and you won`t even need traditional driving skills? Since the biggest names in the auto industry have made some announcements and moreover developed some concepts, the world is starting to talk more and more about the autonomous car and people start to believe in the realization of this until now thought fantasy.
Engineers of the Mercedes-Benz company have developed a concept of a self-driving vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz F 015. Experts say this new realization aims not to prove that an autonomous car is possible, or to explore the mechanics behind it, but it is mainly targeted to offer an understanding of how the interaction between the car and the passengers will unfold. The cars that we use at the moment are designed to meet the needs of a human that operates as the driver. For example, the seats of the vehicle are placed in such a way that all the passengers of the car are faced forward. Will that still be the case when the autonomous car will be a more common thing than it is today? People ask themselves how things will change when a computer will be responsible for driving and in which direction the so called driving experience will evolve.
“Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars emphasized in a comment.
As we have said, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car wants to explore the interaction area, dealing with this aspect primarily, since, in 2013, Mercedes-Benz proved that a self-driving car functioning on public roads was not only a sci-fi movie element. For that, they have used their S 500 Intelligent Drive model. In addition to that, Mercedes-Benz revealed in September their Future Truck 2025 concept.
The Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car has a very smooth design and, until now, engineers have not encumbered it with all the hardware it needs to meet all the requirements that it is meant to satisfy. For the time being, the F 015 is not truly a self-driving vehicle. It can get you to your destination, but the route must be preset. Also, it can follow a bunch of uncomplicated directions.
The new F 015 was tested by several journalists at a Naval Air Station that was out of use. Mercedes-Benz officials chose that location for the test since there are no dangers and no obstacles to run into on a widely spread smooth area. Still, the autonomous concept car had some technical problems. During one of the demonstration, it stopped and had to be driven back to the starting line in a traditional, old-school way. A human chauffeur, operating it manually.
The Engineers of the Mercedes-Benz company have also developed an application for iPhones which functions as a remote control for such autonomous cars. An F 015 can be controlled through this app from distance, it can be summoned at a certain location or it can be directed to park itself. The self-driving concept car features LED`s that are attached on its exterior. When the vehicle runs autonomously, the LEDs glow blue. In the case that the car is being driven by a human, the LEDs glow white.
The LEDs also glow to let the passenger know that they have been recognized. Then, the F 015 transmits an audio message through speakers, which are also placed on the exterior of the concept car. The F 015 says: ″Go ahead, please″. This message is aimed to indicate to the passenger that from that point on it was alright for them to cross. The engineers at Mercedes-Benz have developed a system that uses the LEDs as well. They can virtually create a crosswalk when the car meets pedestrians who cross the street. After that, if the pedestrians wave a hand in the direction of the car, the F 015 will recognize that motion and will respond to it by another audio message: ″Thank you″.
The interior of the F 015 is another factor that can cause a sci-fi movie deja-vu. Almost every inch of the autonomous car`s interior is covered with touch screens. Approximately everything in the car is controlled by a tap of your hand or a gesture, given the way high technology is involved in such a project. With every door, backseat, window, central console, surfaced by a screen or white plastic, the interior of the car is clearly from the future.
The seats of the car are not like the traditional ones. Since you have the service of a self-driving vehicle at just a finger tap distance, there is no need for the passengers to be faced forward, as it happens with our modern cars. The chairs are mobile and allow the passengers to talk face to face, or look in different ways while not speaking, depending on each case. The idea is that the F 015 gives you this chance. It is another option enabled by the Mercedes-Benz self-driving concept car. Also, each of the passengers can drive the F 015. They do not need to sit on the chair which is closest to the steering wheel. Every chair has an affiliated touch screen which allows everybody on board to modify the route of the car or set the pace.
The screens that cover almost every part of the car`s interior are able to display a great amount of information. This information ranges from the data a GPS provides, stats about how the car operates, speed, estimated time of arrival and vehicle`s status to video calls, audio information and even a virtual landscape, in case the real scenery is a bore and you aim for something more exotic.
The new Mercedes-Benz F 015 is not only an autonomous concept car, but a time machine as well. Even if the project is still adjusted and will be surely improved in the time to come, it offers us a glimpse of how transport could look like in the future.
″In order to provide a foundation for the new autonomous F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle, an interdisciplinary team of experts from Mercedes-Benz has devised a future scenario that incorporates many different aspects of day-to-day mobility. Above and beyond its mobility function, this scenario perceives the motor car as a private retreat that additionally offers an important added value for society at large.″
is the message that Mercedes-Benz officials transmitted on the company`s website.
Image Source: mercedes-benz.com
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