Unveiled earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car made itself visible to the San Francisco community.
The futuristic vehicle looks like it drove right out of Chappie or another sci-fi flick and onto the streets of San Francisco last week. Powered by a hybrid electric fuel cell with the range of 900 kilometers, or about 559 miles, and a battery with a range of about 200 kilometers, or about 124 miles, the luxurious F 015 is uniquely designed with cameras, sensors and displays for monitoring the road.
The interior sports four swiveling lounge chairs that serve as Mercedes' ideal basis for impact-protected comfort. The self-driving car’s door concept makes getting in and out a cinch, while the seating allows passengers to have face-to-face conversation with relative ease.
"Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society," Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, said in promotional materials for the vehicle. "The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space."
The F 015 isn’t merely a car, as it can also communicate with its surroundings both visually and acoustically. LED displays at the front and rear enable passengers to view the car’s laser projection system, while the acoustic communication repertoire includes both sounds and the ability to receive spoken instructions.
Inspired by the horse-drawn carriages of the past, Mercedes-Benz is pushing this next step in automotive engineering as "a digital living space." While still a concept car, citizens in San Francisco were able to see the vehicle in action in and around the city. Appearanes of the sleek, sexy, and smooth streamlined car caused Wired magazine to speculate it was being trotted out as part of a new promotional video shoot for Mercedes. "What’s unclear is whether there’s a human hidden behind those windows, and if not, how the car senses the world around it," the magazine wrote.
Despite claims from automakers and pundits that the car will never actually see the light of day, the company says the F 015 is able to "cover distances similar to those of a comparable diesel-engined car, but purely on electric power with zero local emissions." Whether or not that is true, anticipation has been muted on the F 015's potential to start an automobile revolution. Plus, with companies such as Google and Apple engineering their own electric smart cars, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 could prove too high of a price tag for the average car lover to sink their teeth into.
What do you think of the concept car? Should it be mass produced? Or stay on the drawing board? You can watch the video and share your thoughts about the Mercedes-Benz below.