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 The F015 – Mercedes-Benz’s Latest Concept Car

The F015 – Mercedes-Benz’s Latest Concept Car

Arali McGrath

The car giant Mercedes-Benz recently announced its bold vision for the future of luxury travel. Dramatically extending the idea of Auto Pilot, the F015 is an advanced self-driving concept that uses a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell and two electric motors developing a combined 268bhp for zero local emissions propulsion. The F015 goes from 0-62mph in 6.7sec and has a range of 684 miles.

Featured technology includes a sophisticated autonomous operating system that Mercedes-Benz predicts will allow more freedom for drivers to concentrate on other tasks... than actually driving!

A futuristic four-door vehicle making use of conventional front-hinged doors up front and rear-hinged door at the rear – each of which can be opened and closed independently of one another. A highly contemporary-looking cabin featuring four rotating seats that allow face-to-face interaction when travelling in autonomous mode and a range of natural trim materials, including walnut wood and white nappa leather together with glass and exposed metal.

"Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society," said Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche at the unveiling of the concept. “The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”

Described as the most highly developed concept ever constructed by Mercedes, the F015 Luxury in Motion is equipped with an extensive range of state-of-the-art stereo cameras as well as a series of sensors that allow it to permanently monitor the surrounding area and operate fully autonomously when commanded by the driver. To communicate which driving mode is engaged, the LED units light up in a blue shade when the big saloon is running autonomously and in white when it is controlled manually. 

Newly developed software provides artificial intelligence, quite reminiscent of the Blockbuster “WALL-E” which Mercedes says will be crucial to building trust between humans and cars as autonomous driving is introduced in coming years.  Without the standard eye contact between driver and pedestrian in autonomous mode, Mercedes has programmed a series of LEDs within the grille of the F015 to shine when it detects a pedestrian. For a crossing pedestrian, the F015 brakes to a halt and scans its surroundings. A laser system is then used to project a virtual zebra crossing on to the road surface while prompting the pedestrian with an audible “please go ahead” message from external speakers.

At 5220mm in length, 2018mm in width and 1524mm in height, it is 26mm shorter, 119mm wider and 33mm taller than the existing long-wheelbase S-class. Using a combination of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, aluminium and high-strength steel, it is claimed to weigh up to 40 per cent less than the more conventional aluminium and high-strength steel structures in use today. It uses two electric motors, each delivering 134bhp and 147lb ft of torque, mounted at the rear and providing drive to the individual rear wheels.
With a total system output of 268bhp and 294lb ft, the powertrain provides the big saloon with a top speed limit of 124mph. As well as storing energy produced by the fuel cell, the new concept’s lithium ion battery can be charged via inductive means without the need for a cable.

The proposed date for public consumption however is a while off, with a release date for the year 2030.

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