Alex Hilliger, Mercedes-Benz engineer, gives more details about the features of the Mercedes F015 concept car.
The sleek-looking Mercedes F015, a prototype built to demonstrate what is possible when the car takes care of the driving. For now, it is only capable of navigating a preprogrammed course, but according to the set plans the engineer gets a feel for what it might one day be like to drive.
The passengers can control the car from any seat, two of which can face forward or backward. The no-button dashboard pops up with the swipe of a hand and responds to both eye movements and hand gestures. "What we are doing is natural interaction," explains Mercedes-Benz engineer Alex Hilliger, as he adjusts the volume of the car's music without touching a knob.
While driving, the car uses cameras and radar sensors to detect everything around it, such as houses, trees and other cars, displaying them as blue dots on the dashboard screen. The driver can zoom in on the dots, revealing traffic on a nearby bridge, for instance, or another vehicle that's getting too close.
The car notifies its driver of points of interest along the way. "When you're not really tasked with driving anymore and route planning, a navigation system would be completely different," Von Thile says. "Rather than having to focus on turn-by-turn maneuvers, the car can actually highlight what's really nice along the route." If you want to stop for a coffee, he adds, simply raise a hand and the car will pull itself over at your preferred café.
One of the car's ability is to choose music from your playlist based on traffic. When you're stuck in gridlock, he says, it picks a calming song, and then shifts to something more "vibrant" and "lively" when the road is clear.
A car that drives itself will take some getting used to, of course. But one day, we may all learn how to relax while driving.