Space, Time and Mercedes
Although when some people—and I count myself in that number—think “Las Vegas” and “automotive events,” SEMA comes to mind.
That, evidentially, is old-school thinking.
Because the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has become more than just a venue for software and wearables, TVs and washing machines.
It is now a place where vehicle manufacturers and suppliers not only display their latest infotainment systems, but actually reveal concept cars, despite the fact that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit takes place the following week, and if you want the eyes of the world’s automotive press on your products, doesn’t that make a little more sense than a place where the primary focus is on electronics?
Well, once, I guess.
Mercedes took CES as the opportunity to reveal the—and get ready for an exceedingly long name—F 015 Luxury in Motion. It is a car.
When making the reveal, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, stated, “The single most important luxury goods of the 21st century are private space and time. Autonomously driving cars by Mercedes-Benz shall offer exactly that. With the F 015 Luxury in Motion, this revolutionary concept of mobility becomes tangible for the first time.”
They might have saved us all a little time with a shorter name.
Clearly, Mercedes is well advanced with autonomy given the capabilities of the current S-Class. And presumably they’re upping the ante in terms of a sensor array to assess outside conditions.
But an emphasized aspect of the F 015 Luxury in Motion was the Luxury on the Interior.
The sedan features four lounge chairs, not merely seats. The chairs swivel so that people can be face-to-face. Sort of like Chrysler offered in 2008 in its minivan with the Swivel ’n Go. Perhaps Zetsche remembered this from the time of DaimlerChrysler.
Because this is about consumer electronics, and not consumer furniture, the F 015 Luxury in Motion is loaded up with digital screens, not unlike the way tricked-out rides are loaded with speakers and amps to compete in a Soundoff.
There are six screens. Passengers—and as this is an autonomous vehicle, everyone is a passenger—can interact with gesture, eye movement or plain-old touch.
According to Mercedes, the F 015 Luxury in Motion is “a real social partner in traffic.”
Because you can never get enough of being digitally social.
Plenty of interior components are injection molded. But some companies—such as VW—are using a process for trim pieces that both mold a component and cover it in fabric in a single molding process. And it is coming to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.
Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”
While you are probably familiar with origami, the classic art of paper folding that results in things like birds that flap their wings when you pull the tail, or plot devices in one of the Blade Runner films.