Autonomous cars are billed as the Next Big Thing in the auto industry, with the ability to change how we all work and live forever. The Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion concept foretells a future where cars look like slugs on the outside, but 21st century living rooms on the inside. That’s quite the juxtaposition.
While there’s technically a steering wheel and control console, the four-person seat layout is designed so passengers can swivel their bucket seats to face each other, rather than the windshield or the back of the front seats. Gesture and voice controls replace manual knobs and buttons, and the doors open all the way to make entry easier, but also to allow the passengers to park and enjoy a scenic view, I imagine.
Or if you’d rather stay inside, there are six screens spread out across the interior creating what Mercedes calls a “digital arena” that can entertain via movies, games, or whatever forms of entertainment our descendants might be into. These are big screens too, because the F 015 is a big car, about the same size as the huge Mercedes S Class. But because it uses aluminum and carbon fiber in its construction, it comes in at about 40% lighter.
The futuristic drivetrain seems to be of the hydrogen fuel cell variety, though Mercedes seems to have carefully avoided too much discussion on the drivetrain. Instead the F 015 concept is about what cars can do for people in the 21st century, though Mercedes is working to add even more plug-in cars to its lineup. It will be a mobile entertainment center capable of driving itself, following in the same vein as previous Mercedes concepts like the Future Truck 2025 and Vision G Code.
All those cool features aside though, it doesn’t seem much energy was left to invest into a futuristic look. The hoodless egg shape may be ultra-aerodynamic, but I’m just not feeling it or the extra-wide front grille. This autonomous Mercedes makes the Toyota Mirai look like a sensible design decision, and we all know I’m no fan of the 21st century Edsel. Of course the F 015 is just a concept, and obviously one focused on content rather than aesthetics.
Still, I hope the future of driving doesn’t look anything like this slug-like Mercedes concept. Ick. Then again, maybe I am being too critical. What are your thoughts on the F 015 concept?