The future of automobiles will be just that; vehicles that require little driver input to get from Point A to Point B. Mercedes has positioned itself as a leader in autonomous cars, and the German automaker is teasing a low-slung self-driving car concept prior to its Las Vegas debut.
Details are hard to come by, though a few spy shots from California (where permits to autonomous cars can be acquired) indicate that this is more than just window dressing. But will it be an all-electric vehicle in the vein of the Tesla Model S or self-parking Nissan LEAF? Or is Mercedes going to go down the hydrogen fuel cell path with its next concept, following on recent hullabaloo surrounding hydrogen at the L.A. Auto Show.
Elon Musk has made a big show about the Tesla Autopilot system, and how within a few years his cars will be capable of 90% autonomous highway driving. But Mercedes already offers an autonomous tech package in the S 500 Hybrid that let them cover 100 kilometers of city and highway driving, coping with traffic without driver interference.
We’re still pretty far away from being able to read a book rather than drive on the way to work by some estimates, though this new Mercedes concept aims to bring the future into better focus. That said, I’m not sure the hoodless look popularized by 80s sci-fi movies is ready to make a comeback just yet.