Space, Time and Mercedes

Although when some people—and I count myself in that number—think “Las Vegas” and “automotive events,” SEMA comes to mind.

Although when some people—and I count myself in that number—think “Las Vegas” and “automotive events,” SEMA comes to mind.

That, evidentially, is old-school thinking.

Because the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has become more than just a venue for software and wearables, TVs and washing machines.

It is now a place where vehicle manufacturers and suppliers not only display their latest infotainment systems, but actually reveal concept cars, despite the fact that the North American International Auto Show in Detroit takes place the following week, and if you want the eyes of the world’s automotive press on your products, doesn’t that make a little more sense than a place where the primary focus is on electronics?

Well, once, I guess.

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Mercedes took CES as the opportunity to reveal the—and get ready for an exceedingly long name—F 015 Luxury in Motion. It is a car.

When making the reveal, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, stated, “The single most important luxury goods of the 21st century are private space and time. Autonomously driving cars by Mercedes-Benz shall offer exactly that. With the F 015 Luxury in Motion, this revolutionary concept of mobility becomes tangible for the first time.”

They might have saved us all a little time with a shorter name.

Clearly, Mercedes is well advanced with autonomy given the capabilities of the current S-Class. And presumably they’re upping the ante in terms of a sensor array to assess outside conditions.

But an emphasized aspect of the F 015 Luxury in Motion was the Luxury on the Interior.

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The sedan features four lounge chairs, not merely seats. The chairs swivel so that people can be face-to-face. Sort of like Chrysler offered in 2008 in its minivan with the Swivel ’n Go. Perhaps Zetsche remembered this from the time of DaimlerChrysler.

Because this is about consumer electronics, and not consumer furniture, the F 015 Luxury in Motion is loaded up with digital screens, not unlike the way tricked-out rides are loaded with speakers and amps to compete in a Soundoff.

There are six screens. Passengers—and as this is an autonomous vehicle, everyone is a passenger—can interact with gesture, eye movement or plain-old touch.

According to Mercedes, the F 015 Luxury in Motion is “a real social partner in traffic.”

Because you can never get enough of being digitally social.