CES 2015

Self-driving Mercedes-Benz Luxury in Motion concept car

Executive transportation of the future

Published: January 06, 2015 08:30 AM
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

As much an environmentally friendly executive transportation unit as it is an automobile, the Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion concept shown at CES is the German automaker’s vision of what a self-driving luxury car may look like in 2030.

With an unusually long 142-inch wheelbase, tall-yet-streamlined profile, and short overhangs font and rear, the concept is all about providing a spacious and comfortable place for up to four passengers to stretch out—with all the comforts and connectivity of the office. Meanwhile, the car handles the driving chores.

Rear-hinged rear doors and 90-degree openings front and rear make for easy access. The leather and wood-lined interior features four electrically rotating lounge chairs that can face one another to create an intimate conference room or conversation pit on wheels. The seats also swivel outboard to ease with entry and exit when the doors are opened. For those situations that require actual driving, the driver and front passenger seats can be turned forward, at which point a steering wheel emerges from the dashboard.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Six high-resolution display screens mounted in the dashboard and interior panels enable passengers to communicate with the vehicle, each other, and the outside world using gestures, eye-tracking, or touch.

At about 17 feet long overall and 5 feet tall, the Luxury in Motion concept is no urban runabout. Yet in spite of its size, Mercedes-Benz says that extensive use of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic in its construction—along with aluminum and high strength steel—allows for a body structure 40-percent lighter than today’s luxury sedans.

Powered by an electric drive system using a compact battery and hydrogen fuel cell, the concept is capable of generating its own electricity while underway.

By combining new technologies with autonomous features such as corrective steering and self-braking that are already available in their production vehicles, Mercedes-Benz says the Luxury in Motion concept represents a natural evolution of the self-driving vehicle. And that, they say, will lead to increased safety for drivers and pedestrians in urban environments, while still enabling an enjoyable drive on whatever open roads can still be found in the coming decades.

Whether it will be any fun to drive, or if drivers will even care by 2030, remains to be seen.

—Jim Travers

Click on the image above to find all of Consumer Reports' coverage from CES 2015.


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