When you imagine the car of the future, what do you see? Hovercars, right? No wheels, lots of holograms, everything shiny and whirring, all very sci-fi.
Mercedes-Benz has a vision, however, where cars actually become more like living rooms. The F 015 Luxury in Motion concept, shown by Mercedes-Benz this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, is that vision. It runs on hydrogen. It’s made of carbon fiber. Its ends glow blue or white depending on whether man or machine is driving. And it’s meant to drive itself.
This version of the future still has cars. It has roads, too. But when the doors close, the chairs swivel to face each other, and the F 015 takes off on its own.
The most obvious point is that these won’t be cars so much as transportation devices. This echoes how our “phones” are now more like supercomputers with a phone function. In the future you’ll get in your pod and be whisked to your destination.
As you travel, you’ll see all the other cars glowing blue with their LEDs, showing that their passengers aren’t driving either. They’re reading their iPads or napping or maybe even talking to their companions.
Every once in a while you’ll see a car glowing white. “There goes someone actually driving,” you’ll think. “His nav must not be working; he’s probably headed to the mechanic.”
With Toyota releasing more than 5,600 hydrogen patents this week, also at CES, the sharing of hydrogen technology will help make these visions attainable.
A partnership of other German automakers is working to bring the cost of carbon fiber down by 90 percent in six years. That will make it cost about as much as aluminum or steel. The benefit is that it’s just as strong but weighs a lot less.
These appear to be the main ingredients of the car of the future.