Autonomous driving could well be the next big thing, and very soon. For the uninitiated, the Mercedes F015 is a concept produced to take up the cudgels for a plausibility of having to deal with the newfangled lineament of a self-driving saloon. In many ways, this concept will revolutionise mobility as a lifestyle in the same way the 1886 Benz Patent motorcar did in its heyday. With the advent of cleverer technologies seeping into cars like this ‘Luxury-in-Motion’ Concept, the world had better brace itself for features hinting at being a little too left-field. And that’s not all, as the ‘car’ might be a lot more than we think it to be, as Dr.Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars revels in a statement, saying: “Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space”.
Visually, the F015 looks out-of-the-ordinary. Its sloping silhouette that extends over a relatively long wheelbase of 3610mm is a reflection of what was first thought up as something that would accommodate occupants with ample room to spare. Which brings us to the lounge-like interior that is portrayed by elegant patterns, and an up-lifting aura of light, high-quality materials. The leather-swathed seating mounts can be manually swivelled, while this variable seating system also gives way to a face-to-face seat configuration. And as the doors open, the seats swing outwards in order to make ingress and egress a cinch. The car brims with engaging features like the “Pick me Up” app that gives users the liberty to access the functions and information of the vehicle via programming the systems from the home PC or a mobile phone. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however.
Recently, jay-walkers and public alike in San Fransisco happened to be in the thick of of their lives when they stood an opportunity to see something that took them completely unawares: the F015 Concept pootling around the city as part of an unusual exercise by Mercedes-Benz. People gazed as the car’s capsule-like form maneuvered over the streets like something dropped off a spaceship in quest of a spy mission of sort. When it made the occasional haul, throngs of the hoi polloi gathered – and soon enough – mobile phones came swiping out only get a picture; some so enamoured, they clicked a quick selfie with the almost alien-like form. For something so far and few between, perhaps such a sight would never be possible again. But a consolatory wait for the farflung tomorrow may help solve that.