The Mercedes-Benz S500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE and the Future Truck 2025 are realizations of the premium carmaker’s vision of autonomous driving. Now, the new F015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle, as unveiled to the global public at the Consumer Electronics Show, provides another preview of the carmaker’s visionary ideas related to future autonomous driving technologies. The new F015 Luxury in Motion is a self-driving luxury saloon that allows Mercedes to illustrate the evolution of the car from being just a means of transport into a private retreating space. It shows how travelers have greater freedom to use their time on the road other than driving, and in many ways.
Mercedes has been proving that automotive (self-propelled) could evolve into autonomous (self-driving) vehicle. It is relishing its role as a pioneer of automated driving, and is building on its technical expertise to anticipate different outlooks and social trends. This time, Mercedes isn't just focusing its efforts on the machine, but also on its human users. Just like how the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car and its successors managed to revolutionize personal mobility and the society as a whole, the first self-driving cars are expected to lead to major changes.
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, commented that those who focus only on the technology has yet to grasp how autonomous driving could change the society. He noted that the car is evolving far beyond as a mere means of transport into a mobile living space.
Featuring a spacious lounge-like interior, the new Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion is taking the concepts of luxury and comfort to a whole new level. Every aspect and element of this research vehicle conveys how Mercedes interprets modern luxury, emotion and intelligence. Mercedes created this self-driving saloon as a precursor to a mobility revolution, evident from the futuristic look of the F015 Luxury in Motion.
The overall looks of the F015 Luxury in Motion promptly reveals its being a vision as seen through its unusual proportions defined by a length of 5,220 mm, width of 2,018 mm, 1,524 mm), its smooth yet monolithic exterior and its large LED light modules both on its front and rear ends. These LED units deliver a wide range of different lighting functions while allowing the F015 Luxury in Motion to communicate and interact with the outside world. For instance, the LED units become blue when in autonomous mode, or white when manually controlled.
Its extended and dynamic silhouette is defined by its low-slung front end, flat front windscreen streamlined roof line as well as road-hugging rear end. Passengers benefit greatly from the spacious interior of the new F015 Luxury in Motion, as made possible by its unusually large wheelbase that measures 3,610 mm as well as by its short overhangs.
Inside, the new F015 Luxury in Motion offers a lounge-like space delivering a feel-good ambience. Boasting of exclusive elegance, a sense of lightness and quality, the cabin is characterized by sensual, flowing transitions as well as by organic materials. The interior is also defined by a three-dimensional veneer that makes use of open-pore walnut wood, well-defined metal and glass surfaces as well as soft ice white nappa leather.
Adding to the groundbreaking interior concept of the F015 Luxury in Motion is its variable seating system. This system makes use of four rotating lounge chairs that enable a face-to-face seat configuration. The electrically powered seats swing outwards by 30 degrees when the doors of the F015 Luxury in Motion are opened, allowing occupants to enter or exit the luxury saloon a lot easier. In case manual driving is desired, the seats will be arranged to as make the driver and the front seat passenger face towards the front. Once this manual driving layout is employed, the steering wheel will automatically extend from the dashboard. The lounge chairs have leather-covered cushions set in curved mounts of highly polished aluminum, with each mount featuring a contrasting light band of blue LED lights. These seating mounts could also be manually swiveled.
The F015 Luxury in Motion boasts of a continuous exchange of information between the research vehicle, its passengers and the outside world. It features six display screens integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels, thereby transforming its spacious interior into a digital lounge. This allows passengers to interact intuitively with the F015 Luxury in Motion through several ways such gestures, eye-tracking or through high-resolution touchscreens. Sensors fitted inside the research vehicle are able to recognize the hands of the passenger. User interfaces are also within convenient reach of the passengers, thereby allowing them to have operational control in any given situation. The displays come with particle streams that help visualize the movement of the research vehicle.
Mercedes made sure that the new F015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle is provided with a high-strength body, which help ensure that passengers enjoy not just great levels of comfort, but also optimum safety. In addition, the structure of the research vehicle’s bodyshell offers the perfect basis for the door concept that allows passengers to enter or exit easily. This same structure also offers the ideal basis for the communication-oriented four-chair seating in a face-to-face arrangement.
To achieve this, the new F015 Luxury in Motion is provided with the highly efficient "Smart Body Structure (SBS)," employing new materials and structures. SBS is the result of cleverly combining carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and high-strength steels, allowing the body shell to be up to 40 percent lighter than on the current production vehicles.
In addition, the body design concept of the F015 Luxury in Motion features the groundbreaking saloon-door-style door system with rear-hinged rear doors. Devoid of the B-pillars, this system allows the front and rear doors to be opened or closed independently of each other. Moreover, all doors have an opening angle of 90 degrees, which means passenger have easy and comfortable access in or out of the roomy exterior. Safety is ensured by a sturdy interconnected system with mechanical locking elements, which securely interlock the front and rear doors to the roof frame and side skirts when they are closed at the same time. This leads to a composite load path that could effectively absorb high amount of energy in case frontal or side impact, with minimal intrusion into the greenhouse of the research vehicle.
Interestingly, the passive safety concept of the F015 Luxury in Motion is also made possible by the doors, thanks to the crash-responsive beltlines underneath the side windows. The F015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle features the PRE-SAFE Structure that offers optimal safety without taking up too much space. During a side-on collision, body work elements would "inflate" in an instant -- like an airbag -- to absorb as much energy from the impact as possible.
Likewise, Mercedes designed the body shell of the F015 Luxury in Motion to enable the impact-protected integration of an electric drive system with fuel cell, as derived from F-CELL Plug-In Hybrid system that made its debut in the 2011 F 125! research vehicle. This electric drive system combines on-board generation of electricity, a compact yet powerful high-voltage battery as well as a CFRP pressure tank in which hydrogen is stored.