Over the past year, we’ve seen a range of demonstrations of how automotive manufacturers see the future of the industry developing. Doing away with the need for pedals or a steering wheel, here is smart’s vision of the future.
It’s called the smart vision EQ fortwo and it has been created to give us a “new vision of urban mobility and individualised, highly flexible, totally efficient local public transport”. It’s fully autonomous and entirely designed to demonstrate how the concept of car sharing could change in the future.
The concept is quite simply that, when you need a car, you request that one comes to pick you up, a smart vision EQ fortwo will autonomously drive to your location and will then take you to your destination.
The concept car actually comes in response to the recent uptake in ride-sharing companies in cities – smart say that cars from carsharing company ‘car2go’ are hired every 1.4 seconds and studies show that by 2025, there will be 36.7million users of carsharing schemes across the globe.
Unlike the carsharing schemes of today however, smart vision EQ fortwo uses a large Black Panel at the front of the car and large projection surfaces on the sides to personalise the vehicle for the person that it is picking up.
These elements also serve as a way to ensure that the car is connected with everyone around it; combining these surfaces with LED headlights and taillights that can display warnings to other road users and pedestrians, almost every part of smart vision EQ fortwo plays a role in ensuring safety.
As this is a fully autonomous concept, there is no steering wheel or pedals on the interior; instead, vehicle functions are controlled by a personal mobile device or through voice input. The removal of such elements has allowed smart to create a spacious interior that is filled with technology – for starters, a conventional dashboard has been replaced by a large digital display that allows occupants access to all forms of entertainment and media.
The show car demonstrates a two seat arrangement that utilises an easy to clean leather bench with retractable armrest. Depending on the number of people in the car, the smart vision EQ fortwo will tailor what information is shown in the vehicle to the interests of the occupants.
To ensure that the cities of the future are free from air pollution, power comes from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 30 kWh. Ensuring that the battery is always fully charged, the car would take itself to a charging station whenever it isn’t in use.
Alternatively, smart have granted the smart vision EV fortwo the ability to use its battery as a “swarm battery”. This clever technology sees the car dock with the power grid inductively and feed in electricity; this subsequently helps to take some pressure off the grid.
Mercedes-Benz say that the smart vision EQ fortwo helps them to demonstrate their new CASE strategy with a friendly face. Representing the strategic pillars of the future – Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric – CASE will form a very important part in the future of Mercedes-Benz vehicles going forwards.