They teased it for weeks, introduced the concept months ago and have finally brought a functional concept to light.
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Last night, during a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dr. Dieter Zetsche unveiled the F 015 Luxury in Motion Research Vehicle: a completely autonomous car designed for the future.
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There were robots, both animated and real, and a drive through the desert to the Las Vegas strip that began at Area 51. A video posted to CESweb.org last night shows us every detail. And then, there was the car.
During his keynote address at CES, Zetsche explained how Mercedes-Benz first began working on creating a self-driving vehicle nearly 30 years ago under the research name “Prometheus.”
By the 1990s, a Mercedes-Benz was able to create the VaMP, which traveled for 620 miles on the Autobahn without help from a human. From there, it was a short step to add Intelligent Drive to the 2014 S550.
As the world grows and populations soar, the true luxuries of the 21st century are space and time – the two major things that Mercedes-Benz and Zetsche hope to deliver to consumers with the F 015.
“Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space,” explains Zetsche in a press release issued today by Daimler.
The F 015 features pivoting seats to allow for face-to-face conversations. Six display screens utilizing touch-screen, eye-tracking and gesture-reading technologies allow passengers to continually interact with the world outside. And everything is coated in supple white leather.
So how long will it be until the F 015 moves from concept to production? It seems it’s no longer a question of whether the technology is ready, but of whether people are. There are countless questions surrounding the legality of autonomous vehicles, from determining responsibility in the case of an accident to keeping driver information secure and private.
“These questions are industry issues, and we have to solve them in a joint effort,” said Zetsche in his speech, addressing the ethical and legal questions that still face commercial implementation of autonomous vehicles.
Until they are solved, we will all be waiting excitedly to try the new true form of luxury travel.
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