Automotive

Smart's vision for the self-driving electric fleet of the future

The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo follows Daimler's corporate CASE strategy, which will help guide its lineup into the future
The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo follows Daimler's corporate CASE strategy, which will help guide its lineup into the future
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Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
The concept's doors rotate back for more compact opening
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The concept's doors rotate back for more compact opening
Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Sketch of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
The Smart Vision EQ's digital grille displays messages to the customer and others around the vehicle
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The Smart Vision EQ's digital grille displays messages to the customer and others around the vehicle
The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo follows Daimler's corporate CASE strategy, which will help guide its lineup into the future
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The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo follows Daimler's corporate CASE strategy, which will help guide its lineup into the future
Smart uses a curvy design language with very short overhangs and accentuated wheel arches
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Smart uses a curvy design language with very short overhangs and accentuated wheel arches
The digital taillights can take on the look of normal lights or display messages as needed 
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The digital taillights can take on the look of normal lights or display messages as needed 
The Vision EQ ForTwo seats two passengers
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The Vision EQ ForTwo seats two passengers
With autonomous car-sharing, there's no need to worry about parking
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With autonomous car-sharing, there's no need to worry about parking
In Daimler's vision, each Smart Vision EQ ForTwo heads to charge up when it's not out picking up customers
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In Daimler's vision, each Smart Vision EQ ForTwo heads to charge up when it's not out picking up customers
Customers will schedule rides on their smartphones (which will maybe be all transparent by the time fully autonomous car-sharing takes over)
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Customers will schedule rides on their smartphones (which will maybe be all transparent by the time fully autonomous car-sharing takes over)
The rear-pivoting doors provide easier entry in tight spaces with no worry about interfering with other traffic
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The rear-pivoting doors provide easier entry in tight spaces with no worry about interfering with other traffic
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
A Smart ForTwo-sized car can fit where larger autonomous cars don't
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A Smart ForTwo-sized car can fit where larger autonomous cars don't
The digital front panel can communicate with pedestrians and other road users
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The digital front panel can communicate with pedestrians and other road users
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept will make its world premiere at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
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The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept will make its world premiere at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
The Smart Vision EQ includes a lounge-like bench
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The Smart Vision EQ includes a lounge-like bench
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
Here, the front panel displays the car's destination 
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Here, the front panel displays the car's destination 
The front panel can communicate with the customer
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The front panel can communicate with the customer
The side door windows feature an integrated film for displaying projections
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The side door windows feature an integrated film for displaying projections
The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept includes a retractable armrest with storage console
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The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept includes a retractable armrest with storage console
A 24-in front central display stands in for the dashboard
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A 24-in front central display stands in for the dashboard
The small side displays help to welcome passengers aboard
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The small side displays help to welcome passengers aboard
Passengers stay connected and entertained
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Passengers stay connected and entertained
Inside the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Inside the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
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Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept
The first passenger can select or reject a second passenger from within the car-sharing app
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The first passenger can select or reject a second passenger from within the car-sharing app

At this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, it will be some of the smallest cars that will feature some of the biggest technologies. A day after Mini rolled out its Electric Concept, Daimler is showing its all-new Smart Vision EQ ForTwo. Not only does the two-seater follow in the all-electric footsteps of the Mercedes Generation EQ, it features a full suite of technologies purpose-designed for autonomous car-sharing. The colorful little bubble lets you know it's your ride, then whisks you away to your desired destination.

Unlike Mini, the Smart brand has had an electric car for years and currently offers an electric option for all its vehicles. So, Smart is now taking the next step into the future, exploring a fully autonomous electric ForTwo developed specifically for urban car sharing.

The Vision EQ ForTwo fleet that Daimler envisions would use "swarm intelligence" to concentrate in areas of high demand, helping to shorten pick-up times and improve overall system convenience. There would always be available cars out roaming the roads based on this intelligent mapping, helping to foster higher utilization numbers and cut reliance on privately owned vehicles.

Customers will schedule rides on their smartphones (which will maybe be all transparent by the time fully autonomous car-sharing takes over)
Customers will schedule rides on their smartphones (which will maybe be all transparent by the time fully autonomous car-sharing takes over)

Passengers, of course, would rely on their mobile devices to schedule a ride, and instead of the common practice of squinting to try to see if the driver behind the wheel matches the tiny profile photo on the phone (cars themselves can be rather generic), each passenger would be greeted by personalized messages displayed on the Vision EQ ForTwo's digital front display and side projection surfaces.

As focused on full autonomy as the 2015 Mercedes F 015 concept was, it still had a steering wheel and driving pedals. Daimler takes the Vision EQ ForTwo one step farther, eliminating the steering wheel and pedals altogether. And without those, or cabin controls, or a transmission tunnel, or the other clutter of today's non-autonomous gas car, the concept has a roomy interior that feels much larger than you'd expect from a tiny city car.

The small side displays help to welcome passengers aboard
The small side displays help to welcome passengers aboard

Smart keeps the cabin open and simple with a synthetic leather bench seat, deep single foot well, and floating, 24-in digital dashboard that can be used by passengers for infotainment. Two compact 4-in displays angled outward allow the car to communicate with passengers when necessary, starting with a simple welcome message. Passengers can control interior settings via mobile device and/or voice command.

The large bubble side windows further open up the interior, and light strips integrated throughout fill it with soft, diffuse light. A retractable console armrest can serve as a passenger divide and storage area when needed, while additional storage space can be found under the bench and on the floor.

In what could become the next trend in online dating and hookups, Daimler mentions the idea of a digital "1 + 1" service for single passengers that suggests other local passengers for the open seat based on digital profiles and current travel plans. The onboard passenger would be able to accept or reject the suggestions, and when the second passenger hopped aboard, the digital display would show content of common interest, such as music or sports, as a sort of icebreaker.

The Vision EQ ForTwo's exterior design is a great example of form following function. The proportions are kept quite compact and Smart-like, supporting the car's overall role as an efficient service car optimized for tight urban spaces. The bubble doors pivot open to the rear, creating easier ingress and egress without the worry of hitting cyclists, pedestrians or other vehicles.

The rear-pivoting doors provide easier entry in tight spaces with no worry about interfering with other traffic
The rear-pivoting doors provide easier entry in tight spaces with no worry about interfering with other traffic

"The show car has the hallmark smart proportions, with accentuated, pronounced wheel arches at the four corners and with no overhang," explains Daimler design chief Gorden Wagener. "A multiplicity of digital surfaces inside and outside allows the next level of communication between human and automobile."

Beyond just passenger names and greetings, the digital black panel up front could show information like the number of passengers on board, the destination, or warnings to other road users. Daimler envisions the side projections being used for more general information or advertising, such as the time, weather, news ticker or local events schedule. The LED headlights and taillights would similarly change appearance.

In Daimler's vision, each Smart Vision EQ ForTwo heads to charge up when it's not out picking up customers
In Daimler's vision, each Smart Vision EQ ForTwo heads to charge up when it's not out picking up customers

The Vision EQ ForTwo's electric motor is powered by a 30-kWh lithium-ion battery. In Daimler's futuristic vision, each car would drive itself to a charging station when not actively providing a ride to passengers. The cars could be charged inductively and also feed electricity into the grid to help cut stress during peak times.

The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which starts in less than two weeks. New Atlas will be there to grab some photos of this concept and bring back all the latest industry news. In the meantime, play the clip below to see more of how this concept fits into Daimler's vision of urban mobility (and horrible future fashion).

The future of mobility | smart vision EQ fortwo

Source: Daimler

3 comments
Daishi
The AI matched 1+1 ridesharing seems like an interesting idea in theory but like a lot of things we'll probably get a lot of things wrong with it. To start with the app by default will access all of your personal information and social media accounts to so their AI can make determinations about you. Then with a treasure trove of the most valuable commodity in the world (your data) they will inevitably cave into pressure to monetize it selling it to advertisers and offering you coupons and advertising as it propels you onward since you aren't driving. Then after ridesharing with a person you will rate them on a scale of 1-5 literally bringing the Black Mirror episode Nosedive into reality. Society will be forced to be fake nice to each other and hide any opinion that could be deemed offensive to others leading into a societal consensus shift to the least whichever positions are least offensive which will be based more on emotion than facts. With our every opinion recorded and analyzed and anyone with an offensive view permanently blacklisted by the rest of a fake nice society mandating an advertiser friendly digitally enforced groupthink can be all but inevitable. Then we can finally live in a world where the billionaires in 100k square foot gated compounds who are in charge of the info-monopolies like Facebook and Google can openly blacklist people supporting things like national borders or lower income taxes as uncaring of people and thus unfit for the rest of polite society.
DFrancis
The photo of the Smarts under a canopy looks intriguing. Are they recharging stations to which the vehicles drive automatically when not in use? The canopy would be covered with PV cells, and the vehicle recharged by induction charging.
Imran Sheikh
If you would have put an apple logo on it, I would have believed it.. cause its the same design language they use.. try selling it to them its a design worth creating..