This story about the Smart autonomous car concept was first published on CleanTechnica
Daimler revealed a new electric concept car this past week by introducing the Smart vision EQ fortwo, a car that combines familiar Smart design elements with some forward-thinking technology. Unsurprisingly, self-driving is front and centre of this concept, demonstrating Daimler’s commitment to its own car2go service, and asserting its intention to be a key player in the future of urban mobility.
Indeed, car2go was specifically called out in the announcement of this concept vehicle, which cited 2.6 million global users renting a car with the service every 1.4 seconds. What do car2go’s existing users have to do with a concept car? Even a passing look at the Smart vision EQ’s features shows how this could be a terrific step forward in the landscape of urban carsharing.
The concept is focused around a swarm intelligence software. This technology would base an algorithm on existing user data, allowing the car to make itself available in high-demand areas. Users would then book a vehicle that would come to them, rather than seek an available vehicle nearby in the app. Second, the onboard battery, just 30 kWh, is designed for automatic charging between trips at power stations and inductive charging docks.
The most striking design feature of the Smart vision EQ are the large glass doors, which not only offer an incredible view for passengers, but also become interior and exterior facing displays — perhaps to provide traffic and weather updates, or to act as digital advertising billboards. An additional two exterior LED displays positioned in the registration plate positions at the front and rear of the vehicle provide user information, including the availability of the vehicle in question, or the name of the user who booked it.
The Smart vision EQ fortwo is just a concept, but for those who can’t wait to ditch diesel, Daimler’s Smart fortwo electric is the cheapest electric car in the US. You can also see how it compares by reading our other electric car reviews.
Concept vehicles such as this raise some interesting questions. Will anyone living in a city actually own their own car in the near future? Or will we all be driving the sharing economy, ordering a car that will arrive at our location, on demand? With the Smart vision EQ fortwo, it certainly seems that Daimler has a commitment to smoothing out some of the technological bumps in the road for shared, self-driving electric vehicles. It’s not unreasonable to say that this future will soon become reality in cities around the world.