Among all the biggest buzzwords in the automotive community right now, ‘driverless’ may be the most polarizing. However, like it or not, autonomous vehicles are coming, and Mercedes is poised to be on the forefront of the self-driving world.
The luxury brand recently unveiled a prototype interior design for its autonomous mobility concept, with four high-backed swivel seats resembling more of a futuristic travel lounge or high-tech game room rather than a day-to-day commuter.
And that’s probably the point. Autonomous vehicles, like the Google Car, will change the driving landscape like nothing before when they eventually arrive in showrooms, so a dramatically redesigned passenger compartment only makes sense.
“With the new luxury-class interior concept, the car of the future will be more than purely a means of transport,” Mercedes’ statement reads. “Rather, it will become a variable and private area of retreat in increasingly dense urban traffic.”
The progressive architecture goes far beyond a smattering of office chairs and the lack of a steering wheel. Passengers will be able to use hand gestures and other signals to interact directly with the vehicle.
“The system automatically recognizes the wishes of individual occupants for information or the selection of control functions by sensor detection of eye, hand, and finger movements,” the statement continues. “The vehicle’s surroundings, whether pedestrians, other road users, or the local buildings, are also brought into the interior and portrayed as fluid all-round information on displays.”
The interior concept was developed at Mercedes’ Research and Development center in Sunnyvale, California. The autonomous mobility concept car is expected to be revealed at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January.