CES 2015: Mercedes-Benz reveals autonomous-driving 'lounge on wheels'

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a prototype self-driving luxury saloon as a manifestation of its vision for driverless, connected cars that will serve not just as means of transport but as "mobile living spaces".

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The automotive manufacturer used this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to showcase the F 015 Luxury in Motion, a futuristic four-seater vehicle. The car features a lounge-like interior and banks of exterior LED lights that illuminate different colours depending on whether the car is being controlled by a person or is driving autonomously.

The prototype was rolled out during a live-streamed presentation today (6 January) at CES, with a keynote by Dr Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chairman of the board and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The F 015's features include rotating chairs that allow the car’s driver and front-seat passenger to swivel their seats inwards to face the ‘rear’ passengers’, luxury panelling and leather-covered cushions set within LED-lit aluminium mounts.

Technology includes six display screens that turn the car’s interior into a "digital arena" allowing passengers to interact with the vehicle via gestures, eye-movements and touchscreens. Particle streams on the displays visually represent the car’s movement, while the car is even able to locate and reach its owner by connecting to their smartphone.

Mercedes-Benz said it developed the F 015 after creating a ‘City of the Future 2030+’, where driverless cars will be the norm and will "open up new possibilities for urban infrastructure design".

Zetsche said: "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."

While Mercedes-Benz used CES to flaunt its vision for the future of technology and cars, the firm is already renowned for innovations in automotive technology, which have included its Intelligent Drive system for its S Class models.

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