1Mercedes-Benz, Audi Showcase New Self-Driving Concept Cars
by Todd R. Weiss
2Mercedes-Benz F 015 Self-Driving Concept Car
Making its world premiere at CES, the Mercedes F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle includes a sleek, space-age shape and an intriguing system of internal features that could someday take the driving out of taking a trip.
3Not Your Father’s Mercedes Inside
The F 015 features an interior that can only be described as lounge-like and somewhat stark, until you begin to see the luxury materials and capabilities that are available to its passengers. The car includes an extensive sensor system that monitors the entire area around it as it “drives.”
4Gesture Controls for Passengers
The Mercedes is built to enable a constant exchange of information between vehicle, passengers and the outside world. Inside the car, six display screens are integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels, allowing passengers to control systems using gestures.
5In-Car Seating Like You’ve Never Seen
Inside the F 015, four “lounge chairs” have a variable seating configuration, with the seats having the ability to pivot so the passengers can face each other in the cabin. The seats easily allow the driver and front-seat passenger to turn their eyes and attention toward the front if needed.
6Autonomous Driving With Style
The F 015 has large LED light modules on its front and rear, which allow the car to communicate and interact with the outside world. The LEDs glow blue to tell pedestrians when the car is driving autonomously or white when it is being operated by a driver.
7On-Screen Controls for Passengers
High-resolution touch-screen displays inside the car allow passengers to interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or touch. Sensors recognize the passengers’ hands and provide the required interfaces for each type of interaction.
8Let the Sleek Mercedes Take You Anywhere
A full package of stereo cameras, radar and other sensors monitor everything around the car, with all of the data being constantly fed with up-to-the-minute information via the Internet, according to Mercedes. That also includes information on activities nearby, outside the range of the sensors.
9Here’s Audi’s A7 Piloted Vehicle
Audi’s A7 Sportback concept vehicle includes equipment that allows it to manage lane changes and passing, acceleration and braking. Before switching to a passing lane, the system aligns the car’s speed with that of surrounding vehicles.
10Test Driver Uses No Hands to Drive
Audi is developing systems for what it calls “piloted driving” on highways, which is easier for autonomous cars because there are fewer unseen hazards, such as pedestrians jumping out between parked vehicles. If the system runs into something unfamiliar, it prompts the driver to take over the wheel.
11Piloted Driving Mode Indicator
The Audi includes a wide range of special sensors to operate autonomously, including a radar system, a video camera that detects the lane markings and objects, sensors and a laser scanner, which delivers highly precise data to the car’s systems to tell it what is happening nearby.
12On-Dash Indicators Show Driving Status
A central driver assistance controller (zFAS) in the Audi computes a comprehensive model of the car’s exterior perimeter, which is then communicated to all assistance and piloted driving systems. Audi expects to have such piloted driving control modules in vehicles before the end of the decade.
13Audi A7 Piloted Vehicle Processes Data via the Cloud
The data collected by the Audi’s driving control module is routed to an IT back end in the cloud via cellular networks, using LTE where available, according to Audi. The data is then processed using machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms and transmitted back to the car, adding to its future intelligence.