The EQ is Daimler's first concept to omit a steering wheel and pedals.Smart has revealed the Vision EQ Fortwo, a futuristic autonomous concept geared for car sharing.The diminutive two-seater is the first Daimler Group vehicle to be presented with no steering wheel or pedals, relying solely on autonomous systems and effectively doubling the 'passenger' capacity when used for ride-sharing services.
Following in line with Smart's recent decision to stop offering internal-combustion cars in the US, the Vision EQ is equipped with an electric powertrain.
"The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility; it is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalizable and, of course, electric," says Smart CEO Annette Winkler.
The EQ highlights Daimler's vision for car-sharing services. The company already owns Car2go, a popular car-sharing business that allows users to pick up or drop off a Fortwo anywhere in the 'home' area. Autonomous technology will allow the vehicles to pick up riders, essentially merging car-sharing and ride-hailing capabilities.
An autonomous Fortwo fleet would take advantage of 'swarm intelligence' to keep cars close to expected demand. Daimler suggests such an approach will increase utilization, reduce traffic and open parking spaces, however some experts have cautioned that a flood of unoccupied cars driving on city streets could actually increase traffic congestion.
The German automaker suggests the Vision EQ will drive itself to a charging station to refill its 30-kWh battery when necessary.
"Alternatively, the cars can dock with the power grid inductively, feed in electricity and act as a "swarm battery", taking pressure off the grid. smart is playing a key role here in shaping the energy revolution," the company says.
No formal production plans have been confirmed. Such concepts are technically illegal according to current US safety regulations, though the laws are currently under review.