Powered by a hydrogen-electric drivetrain, the F 015 previews Mercedes' autonomous technology.
Mercedes-Benz has introduced a fully autonomous concept called F 015 Luxury in Motion at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that is currently taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The concept stretches 205 inches long, 79 inches wide and 59 inches tall, dimensions that make it about the same size as a long-wheelbase S-Class. Riding on massive 26-inch wheels, it eschews the traditional two- or three-box styling in favor of a monobox design that looks like it comes straight out of a science fiction flick. The otherworldly look is accented by an unusually long 142-inch wheelbase, tiny overhangs on both ends as well as futuristic design cues like a radiator grille made up of LEDs that replace the headlights, a second set of LEDs in the rear bumper and a QR code integrated into the rear bumper that replaces the license plate.
The discreet bulge located on the rear portion of the roof hides a variety of sensors and cameras that help the concept scope out the road ahead. The F 015 is nearly 40 percent lighter than a comparably-sized production vehicle thanks to the widespread use of lightweight materials like carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastics, aluminum and high-strength steel.
Inside, the F 015 offers space for four passengers in a luxurious living room-like atmosphere. All of the controls typically found on the center console are integrated into a touch screen that stretches the entire width of the dashboard and four additional screens are integrated into the door panels. When the car is driving itself, the steering wheel automatically retracts into the dashboard and the front seats can swivel 180 degrees. The wheel extends back to its normal position for manual driving.
The concept is powered by a 272-horsepower hydrogen-electric drivetrain derived from the one found in the F125! concept that debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. It propels the F 015 from zero to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds while returning the equivalent of 117 mpg in a mixed European cycle.
Although it is highly unlikely that the show car will reach production as-is, it serves as a preview of the autonomous technology that will be available on regular-production Mercedes cars in the next few years. Mercedes believes that fully autonomous cars similar to the F 015 will be a common sight in big cities by the year 2030.
Live images by Justin King.