|Mercedes F 015|
With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE and the Future Truck 2025, Mercedes-Benz has already made the vision of autonomous driving reality. The new research vehicle F 015 Luxury in Motion has its world premiere at the Consumer Electronics Show, and provides a concrete example of the visionary ideas the company is developing with regard to autonomous driving of the future. With this self-driving luxury sedan Mercedes-Benz illustrates how the car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a private retreating space. This new way of traveling gives passengers the freedom to use their valuable time on the road in manifold ways.
Progressing from the self-propelled ("automotive") to the self-reliant ("autonomous") vehicle, Mercedes-Benz as a pioneer goes far beyond the purely technical realization of automated driving. The company's experts also have to anticipate different outlooks and social trends. People are always at the center of such considerations. Just as the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car and its successors revolutionized personal mobility and, as a consequence, society as a whole, the first self-driving cars will also bring about major changes.
"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 Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Expressive forerunner of a mobility revolution
With the huge amount of space in its lounge-like interior, the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion takes the concepts of comfort and luxury to a new level. Every facet of the vehicle reflects perfectly the Mercedes way of interpreting the terms "modern luxury", emotion and intelligence. This innovative four-seater is a forerunner of a mobility revolution, and this is immediately apparent from its futuristic appearance.
It is obvious that the F 015 represents the vision of a brand new vehicle concept just from its unusual proportions (length/width/height: 5220/2018/1524 millimeters), its seamless, monolithic exterior and its large LED light modules at the front and rear. A range of different lighting functions can be provided through these LED fields. At the same time, the vehicle communicates and interacts with the outside world by means of the LED fields. These LED fields show for example, if the F 015 is driving autonomously (blue) or is controlled manually (white).
The low-slung front end, smooth and streamlined roof line, flat front windshield and road-hugging rear end give the F 015 Luxury in Motion an extended and decidedly dynamic silhouette. The F 015 Luxury in Motion's unusually large wheelbase of 3610 millimeters in combination with its short overhangs clearly show that the design focus was on providing the maximum possible space for the passengers.
A lounge-like interior with an atmosphere of wellbeing
In the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion the designers have created a lounge-like space with a feel-good ambience characterized by elegance, quality and lightness. Sensual, flowing transitions and warm, organic materials such as open-pore walnut wood shaped into a three-dimensional veneer, and extremely soft ice white nappa leather contrast with clearly-defined metal and glass surfaces with a cool and technical feel.
The pivotal feature of the innovative interior concept is the variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. In order to make getting in and out of the car easier, the electrically powered seats also swing outwards by 30 degrees as soon as the doors are opened. If necessary, the driver and front-seat passenger can also turn their eyes and attention towards the front – a prerequisite for manual driving. To this end the steering wheel extends automatically from the dashboard.
The leather-covered cushions of the lounge chairs are set in curved mounts of highly-polished aluminum. Each seating mount has a contrasting light band of blue LED lights and can also be manually swiveled.
One key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers and the outside world. This is facilitated by six display screens harmoniously integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels, which turn the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion into a digital arena. Passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high-resolution screens. Sensors recognize the passengers' hands and offer them user interfaces within convenient reach that present appropriate operating options for each particular situation. Particle streams on the displays visualize the vehicle's movement.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Revolutionary vehicle structure
The high-strength body of the F 015 Luxury in Motion ensures optimum safety and supreme comfort for its passengers. At the same time, the bodyshell's structure provides the ideal basis for the door concept that makes getting in and out especially easy, and for the communication-oriented seating featuring four lounge chairs in a face-to-face arrangement.
New materials and structures were used to develop the highly efficient "Smart Body Structure (SBS)" of the F 015. By cleverly combining carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and high-strength steels in a way that matches the varying requirements exactly, the lightweight engineering experts were able to make the bodyshell 40 percent lighter compared with today's production vehicles.
Another key element of the body design concept is the innovative saloon-door-style door system featuring rear-hinged rear doors. The front and rear doors can be opened and closed independently of one another. With an opening angle of 90 degrees for all doors, the spacious interior can be easily and comfortably accessed on both sides. B-pillars were not needed. A very sturdy interconnected system with mechanical locking elements ensures exemplary safety standards. These elements securely interlock the front and rear doors when they are closed at the same time as fixing them firmly to the roof frame and side skirts. The resulting composite load path allows an extremely high amount of energy to be absorbed in the event of frontal or side impact, with minimal intrusion into the passenger compartment.
The doors themselves have a crucial role to play in the vehicle's passive safety concept. The crash-responsive beltlines underneath the side windows are vital here. The PRE-SAFE Structure, previously unveiled on the ESF 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle and now further enhanced, offers maximum safety while taking up minimum space: in a side-on collision, these bodywork elements "inflate" in an instant, just like an airbag, allowing them to absorb as much impact energy as possible.
In addition, the bodyshell of the F 015 Luxury in Motion was designed to allow the impact-protected integration of an electric drive system with fuel cell. This is based on the pioneering F-CELL PLUG-IN HYBRID system seen in the F 125! research vehicle from 2011, and combines on-board generation of electricity with an exceptionally powerful and compact high-voltage battery. The pressure tank made from CFRP is designed to store the hydrogen.
The vision: greater quality of life for all city dwellers
As a foundation for creating the F 015 Luxury in Motion, experts from all areas of Mercedes-Benz developed a future scenario entitled "City of the Future 2030+", which considered many aspects of mobile living.
The greater the advance of urbanization, the greater is the desire of the individual to be able to retreat to a private sphere. Autonomous driving will become a given. As drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable, the time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality. Time and space will become the luxury of the future.
New technologies and forms of communication open up numerous new possibilities for interaction, both between the vehicle and its passengers and between the vehicle and other road users.
Autonomous cars also open up new possibilities for urban infrastructure design. Following the example of today's low-emission zones in city centers, special "safety zones" that are only accessible to autonomous vehicles could be created. Urban space would be regained by autonomous vehicles parking themselves on the periphery.
In the shared space of the future, humans and machines share the roads. The "car-friendly city" is transformed increasingly into the "people-friendly city" without any loss of individual freedom. The divide between residential, recreational and traffic areas therefore melts away. The result is superior quality of life for all urban dwellers.
The road to autonomous driving
Even now, vehicles from Mercedes-Benz are capable of detecting many different hazardous situations out on the road and reacting as the situation demands – by means of autonomous braking, for instance. And from the C-Class through to the S-Class, there are already Mercedes-Benz models driving semi-autonomously on public roads today, equipped with features such as DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and the Stop&Go Pilot semi-autonomous traffic jam vehicle following function. Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC allows automated parking with active steering and brake control in both parallel and end-on spaces.
In August 2013, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated to great effect that autonomous driving is possible now, even in complex urban and rural traffic situations. The close-to-production Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE completed the approximately 100-kilometer journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim fully autonomously, following the route Bertha Benz took in 1888 on the first ever long-distance drive by car.
Mercedes-Benz is setting the pace of development in the area of trucks, too – as the innovator and launcher of intelligent assistance systems. With its Future Truck 2025, the brand presented the world's first truck to feature autonomous driving at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in September 2014. In July 2014, this one-off vehicle, based on the Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845, drove at speeds of up to 80 km/h in realistic traffic situations on a section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg.
As a global company, Mercedes-Benz has its sights set on autonomous driving worldwide. In order to factor in the differences in traffic and infrastructure in other markets, the experts also carry out testing in the USA, for example. In mid-September 2014, Mercedes-Benz became one of the first automotive manufacturers to be issued with an official license by the US state of California for testing self-driving vehicles on public roads there. In addition the company makes use of the USA's largest test facility, the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS).
The Mercedes-Benz management team on the F 015 Luxury in Motion
"The car is becoming a mobile living space"
"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."
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
"Autonomous driving is one of the greatest innovations since the invention of the motorcar. Drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable, and the time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality."
Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
"Visionary concepts as the F 015 are vital for fueling the social discourse on mobility and the design of urban habitats. An essential part of our culture of innovation is to make humans, with their needs and desires, the central focus of our considerations and developments."
Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Head of Corporate Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer for Daimler AG
"With the F 015 Luxury in Motion we wanted to design a luxurious vehicle with a lounge-like ambience in the interior, which combines sensuality with purity in a very special way and appeals equally to the intellect and to the emotions, thereby exerting a natural appeal. In addition, its exterior had to signal its visionary and pioneering character at first glance."
Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG
"City of the Future 2030+" vision
Shared space in tomorrow's world
- F 015 Luxury in Motion in the city traffic of the future
- Mercedes-Benz provides technically feasible and socially desirable solutions to the challenges of mobility
In order to provide a foundation for the new autonomous F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle, an interdisciplinary team of experts from Mercedes-Benz has devised a future scenario that incorporates many different aspects of day-to-day mobility. Above and beyond its mobility function, this scenario perceives the automobile as a private retreat that additionally offers an important added value for society at large.
"Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society," emphasizes Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space."
In the same way the 1886 Benz Patent Motor Car and its successors revolutionized personal mobility and, as a consequence, society as a whole, the first self-driving cars will also bring about major changes. Visions are vital for fueling the social discourse on future mobility and the design of urban habitats, as is seeing things from an all-encompassing perspective.
Not just crystal ball gazing
The "City of the Future 2030+" vision: urbanization has continued to advance, and the little urban space there is today is scarcer than ever. In an urban environment where space is at a premium and everything happens at a hectic pace, people have a growing desire for privacy and a place to retreat to. Autonomous driving is taken for granted – it is accepted by society and the technology is perfectly reliable. As the autonomous car takes over from the driver in situations where driving isn't much fun, such as slow-moving traffic, it gives real added quality to time spent out on the road. The passengers in self-driving cars use their newly gained free time while traveling for relaxing or working as they please.
New technologies and forms of communication open up a whole host of new possibilities for interaction, both between the vehicle and its passengers and between the vehicle and other road users. The relationship between human and car is configured in such a way that the autonomous car assumes those tasks the human does not wish to carry out or cannot carry out, such as maintaining a permanent 360-degree all-round view. The human, on the other hand, decides how fast the car should move or which route is more scenic. The result is a new form of 'teamwork' between vehicle and driver that will make people's lives easier.
New scope for designing the urban infrastructure
Autonomous cars also open up new possibilities for urban infrastructure design. The streetscape is set to change. Following the example of today's low-emission zones in city centers, special "safety zones" that are only accessible to autonomous vehicles could be created. The removal of surplus streets and road signs could furthermore free up valuable space in the densely populated megacities. Urban space would also be regained by autonomous vehicles parking themselves on the periphery. This alone could eliminate around a third of the city traffic produced today by vehicles searching for a parking spot.
Extensive connectivity and communication would allow traffic composed of autonomous vehicles to flow more smoothly and take up fewer lanes. Traffic would become more free-flowing again as a result of vehicles moving continuously. Overall, personal mobility would be more comfortable, more stress-free and safer.
Shared space in tomorrow's world
In the shared space of the future, humans and machines share the roads. The "car-friendly city" is transformed increasingly into the "people-friendly city" without any loss of individual freedom and the possibility to use the car. Main access roads in the cities that were previously busy with traffic become attractive places for living, shopping and strolling again. The divide between residential, recreational and traffic areas therefore melts away. The result is superior quality of life for all urban dwellers. The technology will also offer older people and people with disabilities who are not able to drive themselves the opportunity to enjoy personal mobility. Beyond the high-density urban areas with “safety zonesÃ¢â‚¬Â�, there will be mixed traffic where self-driving vehicles use the roads together with conventionally driven cars. The extensive sensor systems and communication facilities will yield substantial benefits for all road users.
Mercedes-Benz experts engaged in a dialogue on the future of mobility
Mercedes-Benz regularly invites interested parties to take part in a dialogue on the future of mobility. For example, the Future Talk introduced by Mercedes-Benz in 2013 established a new dialogue format and asked the question "How utopian is the future?" In dialogue with the avant-garde in different disciplines, Mercedes-Benz experts shared their visions of shaping a desirable mobile future. The focus of the Mercedes-Benz Future Talk "Robotics" in July 2014 was the interaction between man and machine.
Interview with Thomas Weber and Herbert Kohler
"Autonomous driving is one of the greatest innovations since the invention of the automobile"
- Vision 2030+: autonomous driving becomes part of day-to-day mobility
- New driving culture allowing good use to be made of time spent in the car
- More than eye contact: trust between human and machine
Since the early 1970s, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled more than a dozen visionary research vehicles. Numerous technological features have already found their way into series production. With the new F 015 Luxury in Motion, Mercedes-Benz is once again underlining the pioneering role it plays in the development of visionary automotive concepts. The focus this time has been clearly placed on autonomous driving.
Progressing from the self-propelled ("automotive") to the self-reliant ("autonomous") car takes Mercedes-Benz research and development far beyond the purely technical implementation of automated driving. The company's experts also have to anticipate different outlooks and social trends. Humans, with their needs and desires, are always at the heart of their considerations, though.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, and Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Head of Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer for Daimler AG, explain the company's vision of autonomous driving as well as further steps along the road to revolutionizing mobility.
For the first time, the F 015 Luxury in Motion explores the possibilities offered by autonomous driving in depth. What significance do you see the self-driving car as having?
Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber: Autonomous driving is one of the greatest innovations since the invention of the automobile. Drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable, and the time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality: the freedom to do other things while driving instead of steering, accelerating and braking.
Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler: That's exactly how I see it – in a world where space is at a premium and everything happens at a hectic pace, people have a growing desire for privacy and individuality. So the car becomes a place to retreat to. Autonomous driving offers drivers the freedom of being able to use the time spent in this retreat as they wish.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]You already demonstrated that autonomous driving is technically possible today in complex, realistic traffic situations, both in the city and when traveling cross-country, in summer 2013 with the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE. What is the purpose of the F 015 Luxury in Motion?
Weber: We see ourselves as pioneers of autonomous driving and are consequently pushing ahead with its development consequently. This means we are very mindful of everything that accompanies this development – including how autonomous driving revolutionizes the vehicle interior, for example. The F 015 makes this aspect even more appealing, as well as making it more comprehensible and tangible for people.
Kohler: Visionary concepts as the F 015 are vital for fueling the social discourse on mobility and the design of urban habitats. An essential part of our culture of innovation is to make humans, with their needs and desires, the central focus of our considerations and developments. Needless to say, we use the in-house expertise of our global R&D network for this. However, we also consult avant-gardists and experts from a whole range of different fields. With the Mercedes-Benz Future Talk, for instance, we inaugurated a series of dialogues in 2013 that are a tremendous source of inspiration for us.
What specific ideas from future scenarios were incorporated into the design of the F 015?
Kohler: Our future scenario looks ahead to the years 2030+. Urbanization will continue to advance – this is a clearly foreseeable trend worldwide. The little space there is in our cities today will become increasingly scarce. One quite important thing to note in this regard: autonomous driving will be accepted by society as part of day-to-day mobility. This will entail both technical and social changes.
Weber: And motoring itself will also change. The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion demonstrates this to full effect. This self-driving luxury sedan offers up to four passengers remarkably generous amounts of room. The lounge-style interior is designed as a digital space offering total connectivity. The occupants can use the time spent aboard the vehicle for relaxing, communicating or working efficiently. This brings a real boost in terms of quality of life.
The automobile as a private retreat in the midst of bustling traffic?
Kohler: Precisely. We see that as being the true luxury of the future. However, we also envisage the automobile giving something back to society and offering added value for the world at large. The intelligent vehicle can warn other road users of potential hazards, for example, or provide early information on certain traffic situations, thereby having a positive impact on traffic conditions. Communication and interaction are key to generating this added value.
A car that can communicate – it all sounds like a science fiction film. How does it work in reality?
Weber: It's already reality today, using Live Traffic Information, for instance, or the automatic emergency call. And actually, it's not really new at all: even when the turn signals are switched on, the driver, or rather the car, is communicating with its surroundings. The F 015 is capable of far more, though. It has large communication displays at the front and rear with LED panels. By changing the color of the lights, the F 015 indicates, for example, what driving mode it is currently in: blue stands for autonomous and white for manual. If the F 015 detects a pedestrian at the roadside, undulating light signals appear in the LED grille to show the pedestrian that the vehicle has seen them. This has the effect of building trust between human and machine, as the traditional eye contact with the driver will no longer exist as we know it today.
Kohler: Communication is the key. Should a pedestrian wish to cross the road, for instance, the F 015 halts and scans its surroundings to check whether it is safe to do so. If it is, the car uses a high-precision laser system to project a virtual crosswalk onto the road surface and additionally lets the pedestrian know it is clear to cross with an audible "Please go ahead" prompt.
Where does the car obtain the necessary information from?
Weber: The F 015 is equipped with an extensive sensor system that allows it to permanently monitor the entire area surrounding it. Nothing escapes the attention of the stereo cameras, radar and other sensors. Neither do they lose concentration or start to tire. The vehicle's complete connectivity furthermore means it is being constantly fed with up-to-the-minute information via the internet – including information on things that are taking place beyond the detection range of its own sensors. All of this data is amalgamated, evaluated and interpreted appropriately. We call this intelligent sensor fusion.
And in what language do human and machine communicate with one another?
Kohler: Interaction in the vehicle interior is intuitive and takes the form of natural gestures, eye-tracking or touch control. We are also working hard on the development of a universal and perfectly clear form of communication between human and machine outside the vehicle too. As we see it, the human always remains in charge in all situations.
The complete connectivity of the automobile raises questions about data privacy and data security. What does Mercedes-Benz do to ensure that vehicle data is secure? How would you reassure potential skeptics?
Kohler: We follow a cloud-based approach. In combination with the Daimler Vehicle Backend, a specially secured server, this guarantees a secure and encrypted exchange of data at any time. In the interest of our customers, data privacy and therefore transparency are also very important to us besides data security. The customers must be aware what data is being collected when and for what purpose, and can decide for themselves what data they wish to release. There are strict rules and regulations for accessing data, and independent audits are conducted to make sure they are complied with.
Weber: When developing the fully connected car, we paid careful attention to the issue of data privacy right from the start. The car of the future will turn increasingly into a digital companion, which at the same time means it must keep data safe as well as be perfectly safe to operate out on the road. This careful and secure handling of data is a vital factor for the general acceptance of the new technologies.
Your last autonomous driving projects – S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE and Future Truck 2025 – were both presented in Germany. But surely you want autonomous vehicles to be used worldwide?
Weber: Yes, and that is precisely why we naturally test worldwide to allow us to factor in the varying traffic and infrastructure conditions. In mid-September 2014, Mercedes-Benz became one of the first automotive manufacturers to be issued with an official license by the US state of California for testing self-driving vehicles on public roads there too. In addition to this, we also make use of the USA's largest test facility, the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS), for further testing of this future technology. This abandoned military site with its city-like road network extending over an area of 8.5 square kilometers provides a realistic traffic environment.
How do things stand in general with the legal requirements for autonomous driving on public roads?
Kohler: They currently differ from country to country, and even from state to state in some cases, especially when you look at the USA. Things are changing though: last spring, a United Nations expert committee got to work on an amendment to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, thereby creating the basis for legalizing autonomous driving. In future, the corresponding systems should be permitted provided they can be deactivated or overridden by the driver at any time. We are now calling for swift implementation of this amendment to the law and of the appropriate regulations at the national level.
What are the next steps on the road to autonomous driving?
Weber: Autonomous driving will not suddenly happen overnight; rather it will be a gradual development that takes place step by step. I am absolutely sure that we will be able to offer our customers features such as fully automatic parking and automatic driving on the highway before the end of this decade.
Kohler: And don't forget: from the C- and E-Class through to the S-Class, our models already make life easier for the driver today with various semi-autonomous functions. These include DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and the Stop&Go Pilot: this allows the car to automatically keep up with the vehicle in front in traffic tie-ups as well as assist with steering too. Active Parking Assist, meanwhile, selects a suitable parking space and takes care of the steering. The driver only needs to accelerate and brake.
And what about the pleasure of driving?
Weber: That's simple, it will be greater than ever. You can drive yourself when you want to instead of when you have to. Anyone who wishes will be able to keep their hands on the steering wheel and still press the accelerator. Driving pleasure cannot be automated. But another driving culture can evolve along-side it that offers a whole new degree of freedom. In the long run, we will complete the majority of everyday journeys in autonomous mode – comfortably, safely and with the opportunity to put the valuable time spent traveling to efficient use in all sorts of different ways.
Will the car actually still exist in 20, 30 or 40 years' time?
Kohler: I am sure of it. The automobile remains the epitome of freedom of personal mobility, because it is simply unsurpassed for comfort and privacy. You can also see the increasing level of car ownership in countries such as India or China, where the economy and wealth are booming. There is very high demand for personal mobility there too.
Weber: In fact, it's the new technologies that will help to ensure motoring does not lose any of its appeal in the future. Personal mobility and modern urban planning go hand in hand. Just imagine: vehicles automatically search for parking spaces on the periphery of cities instead of increasing traffic volumes and the amount of space required in city centers due to vehicles parking.
Kohler: Certain zones in city centers could furthermore be reserved exclusively for autonomous vehicles. That would make it possible to reduce the number of lanes in those zones and also largely do away with road signs, because they would basically be redundant. This would in turn create more room and living space for people.
Weber: It really does open up many new and interesting possibilities in terms of urban infrastructure and, of course, for the cities too, which will be able to put themselves in a good position through smart, anticipatory planning. To put it in a nutshell: we are absolutely convinced of the tremendous potential of autonomous driving and see it as holding a highly promising future for the automobile.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber (60) has been Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG since 2003 and, since May 2004, has been responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Following a technical apprenticeship at Daimler, he studied mechanical engineering. He completed his doctorate at Stuttgart University in 1987 and joined the then Daimler-Benz AG. In 1994 he became project manager for planning and production of the new generation of V-engines for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars at the Unterturkheim plant and took over as head of the new engine plant in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt a short time later. He was appointed Center Director in 1998 and was responsible for the entire Mercedes-Benz engine production at the Stuttgart site. He became manager of the Rastatt plant in 1999. In 2002 he was given the additional role of spokesperson for A-Class management. In January 2003, he assumed responsibility for corporate research and technology on the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management. He has furthermore been responsible for development at Mercedes-Benz Cars since May 2004. Today, Prof. Dr. Weber is in charge of the merged portfolio of "Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development" on the Board of Management of Daimler AG.
Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler (62) joined what at the time was Daimler-Benz AG in 1976 and initially worked in the production plant planning division. He completed his doctorate at Stuttgart University in 1982. It was under his leadership that the center for "Environment, Technology and Traffic" was established in 1992. He switched to the Mercedes-Benz Development division in 1993, taking over as head of strategic product planning, a role which he held until the end of 1999. In 1998 he was made an Honorary Professor at Stuttgart University. Following various posts in passenger car product management/sales and marketing, Prof. Dr. Kohler was appointed Director of Vehicle Body and Drive Systems Research in October 2000. From August 2006 until March 2009, he headed up the newly created Group Research & Advance Development unit for Vehicle Body and Drive Systems at Daimler AG. From April 2009 until April 2012, he was head of the newly founded "E-Drive and Future Mobility" directorate within Research & Advance Development, which is responsible, among other things, for the development of battery-electric and fuel-cell drive systems. Prof. Dr. Kohler has been head of the newly created Research and Advance Development Directorate for the Daimler Group since May 2012. Since March 2002, he has additionally held the position of Chief Environmental Officer for Daimler AG.
Expressive forerunner of a mobility revolution
- Autonomous driving opens up new freedoms in design
- Monolithic exterior with a high-tech feel
- Flowing transitions characterize the lounge-like interior
The task of the designers of the Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion was to come up with a completely new concept and design for a luxury sedan: because autonomous driving will create a lot of freedoms of design that can be utilized systematically. The car becomes a precious, private retreat, particularly in urban traffic.
Thus the visionary research vehicle Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion was born, a vehicle which raises comfort and luxury to a new level by offering a maximum of space and a lounge character on the inside. Every facet of the F 015 Luxury in Motion is the utmost reflection of the Mercedes way of interpreting the terms "modern luxury", emotion and intelligence. This innovative four-seater is a forerunner of a mobility revolution, and this is immediately apparent from its futuristic appearance. Sensuality and purity, the core elements of the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy, combine to create a unique, progressive aesthetic appeal.
It is immediately apparent that the F 015 represents the vision of a brand new vehicle concept just from its unusual proportions, with a length of 5220 millimeters, width of 2018 millimeters and height of 1524 millimeters, from its seamless, monolithic exterior, and from its large LED light modules at the front and rear. A range of different lighting functions can be provided through these extensive LED fields. At the same time, the vehicle communicates and interacts with the outside world by means of these LED fields. The display signals to pedestrians that the F 015 has "seen" them. The number plate is replaced by a QR code, making information on the vehicle available to the outside world. This, along with the striking narrow luminescent band on the rear end, makes the vehicle into a "communications center" on wheels. The monolithic impression is emphasized by the absence of exterior mirrors and the flush-fitting side windows, which have an almost mirror-like appearance thanks to their finely-patterned surface and which blend almost imperceptibly into the flanks of the vehicle body, finished in alubeam.
Dynamic: an extended, flowing silhouette and pronounced body shape
The low-slung front end, smooth and streamlined roof line, flat front wind-shield and road-hugging rear end give the F 015 Luxury in Motion an extended and decidedly dynamic silhouette. The vehicle body has a pronounced, attractive shape. The generously-sized areas of outer skin fit snugly to the body. The greenhouse is tapered sharply towards the rear, resulting in muscular shoulders which lend an eye-catching contour to the flanks. Together with the powerful-looking side skirt, this gives the sides of the vehicle additional visual structure.
The extremely large 26-inch wheels appear to push down the side skirts, which in turn emphasizes the unusually long wheelbase. The alloy wheels are split into five equally-sized, cross-drilled areas of gleaming aluminum.
Expansive: long wheelbase and "saloon doors" that open wide
The unusually long wheelbase of the F 015 Luxury in Motion, at 3610 millimeters, is longer by some 245 millimeters than the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class (3365 millimeters). Combined with the short overhangs, it is immediately apparent that the design focus was on providing the maximum possible space for the passengers.
The F 015 Luxury in Motion does not have any B-pillars. This fact, together with the wide-opening "saloon doors" that open out the other way to conventional doors, makes getting into and out of the vehicle interior particularly convenient and comfortable. The doors open to a full 90 degrees. This allows a clear view of the generously dimensioned and intelligently laid out interior and ensures problem-free entry. The side impact protection features have been cleverly integrated into the door system.
Open space: a luxury lounge providing the highest levels of comfort
In the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion the designers have created a lounge-like space with a feel-good ambience characterized by elegance, quality and lightness.
Sensual, flowing transitions and warm, organic materials such as open-pore walnut wood, which has been shaped to a three-dimensional veneer, and extremely soft ice-white nappa leather contrast with clearly-defined metal and glass surfaces with a cool and technical feel. The transitions between organic, metal and synthetic materials have been designed using matrix graphics; and the flowing transitions deliver a new, unparalleled feeling of bounteous space. The light-colored fine wood used for the floor, for example, flows almost imperceptibly into the cool Plexiglas of the side panels thanks to their unusual surface matrix. The transition between the vehicle floor and the door panels also echoes the outer body shape in a characterful way.
Variable and comfortable: Lounge-like seating system with a vis-Ãƒ -vis configuration
The pivotal feature of the innovative interior concept is the variable seating system, with four rotating lounge chairs that allow a face-to-face seat configuration. This enables the front passengers to turn around and talk directly to the other passengers while on the move – or to focus their attention towards the front as necessary for manual driving. For this, the white leather steering wheel automatically slides out of the instrument panel – also clad in white leather – and offers the driver a choice of driving options. To make getting in and out of the vehicle really comfortable, the electrically-powered seats swivel 30 degrees towards the doors as these are opened.
The cushions of the lounge chairs are upholstered in extremely soft ice-white nappa leather and set in curved mounts of highly-polished aluminum. Each seating mount has a contrasting light band of blue LED lights and can also be manually swiveled. Harmonious touches are provided by the leather head restraints with the Mercedes star strikingly embossed in them, as well as by the seat belts, which are in the same color as the seat cushions.
Communicative and interactive: the interior as a digital living space
One core theme of the innovative interior concept is a continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers and the outside world. Six displays are installed to this end all around, tastefully mounted in the instrument panel and the rear and side walls, making the interior of the F 015 Luxury in Motion a digital living space – a perfect symbiosis of the virtual and the real world. Passengers are able to interact intuitively with the connected vehicle by means of gestures or by touching the high-resolution screens. Sensors recognize the passengers' hands and offer them user interfaces within convenient reach that present the suitable operating options for the particular situation. Particle streams on the displays – with brilliant white background graphics – visualize the vehicle's movement and symbolize its intelligence. In addition, individual displays for each seat provide an innovative way for passengers to take in information.