Mercedes-Benz reveals the future of luxury autonomous vehicles
Following the progression of its design-study show cars, Mercedes-Benz has now revealed the Vision Tokyo. The automaker previously teased the F015 Luxury in Motion autonomous driving concept, and like that vehicle, the Vision Tokyo features a sleek, futuristic design with an interior that looks more like a high-tech lounge than the inside of a vehicle.
The conceptual appearance of the Vision Tokyo features a prominent windshield that wraps around much like the cockpit of a powerboat, and the side windows have been screen printed in the color of the vehicle. This gives the occupants an added level of privacy while still allowing light to enter the cabin for an unimpeded view outside. The monochrome Alubeam exterior color and illuminated blue accents along the 26-inch wheels and side skirts further the impression that the Vision Tokyo offers an emissions-free electric drive and show the potential for autonomous operation, according to the automaker. The autonomous system uses a 360-degree camera located in the fin on the roof.
The front headlights are set wide apart and at an angle, giving the front of the vehicle the ability to display a series of lighting functions. At the rear, the window is encased in a ring of red LED cubes that can also be used as an indicator display or analyzer function. Comparable to a midsize sedan, the Vision Tokyo stands at nearly 63 inches tall, is 189 inches long, and has a width of nearly 83 inches.
Five passengers enter the vehicle through the upward-swinging door on the left-hand side, and inside, all five can sit comfortably. Mercedes has foregone the usual row of seats and has instead placed an oval-shaped couch up against the right wall of the vehicle for a lounge-style atmosphere. With this arrangement, all passengers can enjoy the benefits of autonomous driving. The perforated seats are backlit, giving the interior a high-tech feel, and apps, maps, and other displays are shown through a three-dimensional hologram in the middle of the vehicle’s floor in front of the couch seating. When a driver is needed, Mercedes has placed one standalone seat in the cockpit, and the steering wheel then shifts into the driving position from its standby position.
Based on the F-Cell Plug-in Hybrid bodyshell on the F015 Luxury in Motion, the Vision Tokyo also benefits from the crash-protected integration of a fuel cell-powered electric drive system. Power comes from an onboard generator with a powerful and compact high-voltage battery that has the ability to charge via induction. The engine is capable of adapting to its passengers — Mercedes refers to is as Machine Learning — thanks to the Predictive Engine, where it learns preferences during each journey.
The Vision Tokyo also makes use of pressure tanks made from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic to store hydrogen. The total combined range of this concept is roughly 609 miles, with nearly 118 of those miles coming from battery-powered driving and the remaining 491 miles to come from the electricity produced by the fuel cell.
Mercedes-Benz will hold the official debut at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, which starts tomorrow.