Automotive

Mercedes F 015 leaps into the future of autonomous driving

Mercedes F 015 leaps into the ...
Mercedes reveals its F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals its F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015
Mercedes F 015 concept car
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Mercedes F 015 concept car
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015
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Mercedes F 015 concept car
Mercedes reveals its F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals its F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
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Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

When you choose to debut a full concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show, rather than the looming international auto show a few days later, it's gotta be a piece of forward-looking, high-tech wizardry. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion is that and more. The car represents Mercedes' vision of a fully autonomous rolling lounge that envelops four passengers in technology and comfort.

The F 015 is a sort of collage of futuristic technological concepts. The smooth, pod-like car is driven by a fuel cell hybrid powertrain that powers the car (on paper at least) up to 684 zero-emission miles (1,100 km), 560 (900 km) of these on fuel cell-derived electricity and 124 (200 km) on battery power. Mercedes gives no indication as to what specific combination of batteries, fuel cells and motors supports that lofty claim, though.

Mercedes also remains pretty quiet about the exterior, outside of stating the obvious – "low-slung front end, smooth and streamlined roof line, flat front windscreen." To that we'd add it has a color scheme reminiscent of last year's Vision G-Code concept, one of our favorites of 2014.

Instead of getting weighed down in superfluous details, Mercedes zeroes in on the real highlight of the concept, the lounge-style cabin. The swiveling front seats can face forward as in a normal car, but given the lack of any human driving responsibilities, they can also swing around to face the rear passengers, creating a roomy interior space that promises to make passengers of even the Maybach S600 feel a bit cramped in comparison. The seats automatically swivel 30 degrees outward when the doors open, making it easier to get in and out.

Passengers of the futuristic car can take advantage of their new face-to-face orientation to converse amongst themselves, but who opts for real-life conversation when they can lose themselves in a world of cat videos and emoticons? The "digital arena" of the F 015 keeps occupants connected by way of six high-resolution displays integrated into the instrument and side panels. The displays can be operated via touch, gesture control and eye tracking.

Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)
Mercedes reveals the F 015 concept at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

We'd love to see one of these visionary autonomous concepts drop the steering wheel completely, but Mercedes follows in the footsteps of Rinspeed in leaving it there. Perhaps the world isn't quite ready to come to grips with a car stripped completely bare of manual driving capabilities. The interior keeps up Mercedes-level appearances with a combination of walnut wood, metal, glass and ice-white Nappa leather.

Mercedes doesn't provide any new details on autonomous systems, stressing that it already paved the way for these technologies with the S 500 Intelligent Drive, which drove the 62-mile (100-km) Bertha-Benz route from Mannheim to Pforzheim on its own in 2013. That car used a specially prepared 3D road and infrastructure map of the route and a robust set of vehicle sensors based on those Mercedes uses in production models. The upgraded hardware suite included a widened stereo camera, three extra long-range radars, four short-range radars at the corners, a traffic light-monitoring color camera behind the windshield, and a rear-window camera for comparing physical features against the digital mapping data set.

"We have a master plan in place to take the big leap required, getting from technically feasible to commercially viable," says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The F 015 Luxury in Motion demonstrates where this may take us."

While you wait for that journey to unfold, you can get an idea of what the destination will look like, both inside and outside, in Mercedes' F 015 video below.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

18 comments
Gavin Roe
Picture this, the vehicle is involved in an accident, the only occupant was asleep at the time, who is to blame the occupant, the computer or Mercedes; even if you were not at fault you are negligent.
ikarus342000
Who is to blame is besides the point. Who is pushing this technology anyway? If you want not to drive yourself use the train. This is such a waste of recourses. For what, to drive as examble one sleeping person from a to b?
livin_the_dream
get the train, aye dead on mate. Wake up and smell the coffee. With more and more vehicles on the roads, the only wake to make them operate efficiently is to remove the human control. It'll be great when we can all go out for a night without requiring a designated driver! Feel soory for the redundant taxi drivers, but I'm sure there will be other careers they can pursue!
Playability
Public acceptance of driver-less cars will be hard to achieve if century long battle to get drivers to accept automatic transmission is anything to go by. Outside of America, most of the world still prefer manual because it allows more 'control'. Sitting with my back to the direction of travel is something I personally won't ever come to terms with.
Stephen N Russell
Hey MB I volunteer to test drive as a Consumer the F105 for you in So CA area for 3 years for real time data testing alone Or any other like model planned. Contact me.
Jay Finke
Look at the crazy huge blind Spot on the front windshield pillar. Hope it don't have software issues, going down the road at 85mph ?
Matt Tritt
Mindbogglingly huge waste of R&D resources and ignorance of real world driving requirements. Imagine the mess when something like this is hit from side when the seats are swiveled, let alone the problem of safety restraints. And forget driving the thing anywhere but on the Autobahn! Daimler-Benz needs to clean house in their Imagineering department.
Bill for self driving cars
I want something like this except with a comfortable bed. Wake me up on long trips if you need me to pump fuel. Otherwise, wake me up at destination. Better fuel economy because computer takes care of economy driving. Safer than most human drivers. Take loooong trips without the boredom.
Bob Flint
The best or nothing, how will it fair in a crowded urban environment with aggressive drivers not just fantasy floating along a deserted desert
Astro Rosaire
You guys don't understand the problem in America. The auto companies drove out good public transportation in the 60s and 70s. As a result, we don't have a good public transportation infrastructure like the rest of the developed world, and thus, it isn't as easy as you say to "take the train." With that in mind, purpose built, and properly debugged autonomous cars WILL reduce the number of traffic fatalities because they are able to make lightening fast decisions, have greater situational awareness, and don't get drunk. Autonomous cars will also alleviate much of the traffic on highways and improve fuel efficiency by safely drafting other self-driving cars.