Mercedes F 015: Self-Driving, Spinning Seats And Internet
Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury In Motion: Overview
The Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving, hydrogen powered, research vehicle complete with spinning seats and internet screens, has been revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
It is comparable in size to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class – a large luxury saloon - and can be operated in manual and self-driving modes.
Its current setting is revealed to others by external lights at the front and rear. White indicates manual mode and blue autonomous.
The F 015 is fuelled by hydrogen that, once burned, predominantly emits water vapour and heat. Unlike petrol/diesel, there are no environmentally harmful carbon emissions.
Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion: Cabin
Mercedes says the cabin incorporates “a lounge-like space with a feel-good ambience characterised by elegance, quality, and lightness”. It has leather upholstery, a wooden floor and metal and glass surfaces. The 4 seats revolve so passengers can face each other.
To make climbing into and out of the vehicle easier, the electrically operated seats automatically swing outward as the doors open. When the front seats face forward so the car can be driven manually, a steering wheel automatically emerges from the dashboard.
The F 015 has 6 screens mounted to the instrument, side, and back panels that connect passengers to the outside world. Operation comes via gesture, eye-tracking and touch.
Mercedes-Benz claims "The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space" – and that “anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society”.
Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion: Exterior
The F 015 is partly built from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic to save weight. Its body structure – in comparison to a current vehicle of similar size – weighs about 40% less.
Exterior doors open to 90 degrees to create large apertures for passengers. Space is extended further by a lack of b-pillars that have traditional been required for strength. Mercedes says “mechanical locking elements ensure exemplary safety standards” by interlocking the front and rear doors. They also fixed to the roof frame and side skirts.
Furthermore, in the event of a side-on collision elements within the bodywork inflate – much like an airbag – to absorb energy. This concept minimises the risk to passengers.