Hit the Road…Bot! Self-Driving Cars Are on the Move

Star ship-armchair-model seats can be arranged into face-to-face configuration, since you need not worry about the traffic.

Many have made a trip to Las Vegas these days to visit the biggest tech event on the planet. This year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) which covers an area of almost two miles is a place where one can witness some ground-breaking, innovative and experimental concepts, but the self-driving cars were the ultimate stars of the show.

Google made us look into the future of automotive industry with its Self-Driving Car Project, but Mercedes, Audi and BMW showed the workings of the masters of the industry, which nevertheless surprised us. In anticipation of a legislation that would regulate this area, car manufacturers are pursuing with their plans for autonomous driving vehicles that are expected to become mainstream by 2020.

For many, Mercedes trademark has always been a synonym for excellence in engineering, sleek design and limousine-type comfort, but this time it wants to be a daring, futuristic to a breaking point, and a concept-reinventing manufacturer. Seeing Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion can make your heart skip a beat. Apart from being something completely different in terms of its futuristic exterior design, its interior looks are even more fascinating. Once you open its saloon-style doors, what awaits you is an atmosphere of a luxurious lounge bar where you can fully relax, like sitting in your own living room. Star ship-armchair-model seats can be arranged into face-to-face configuration, since you need not worry about the traffic. An on-board robotic chauffeur will take you wherever you want to go, while your biggest worries have to be how to entertain your family or friends. And, with all the screens around, and the packed technology that can provide any type of entertainment, maybe not even that.

F015 uses many interacting cameras, sensors and radars which read the environment and then send the data to an on-board computer that compares it with data obtained from the cloud, in order to assess the best navigation solution. Driver and other passengers will be able to communicate with the car via screens, gestures, and eye-movement. The vehicle itself will even be able to communicate with other participants in the traffic, and warn them of potential hazards.

BMW’s cars have fully automated parking technology, named Remote Valet Parking Assistant, which allows you to exit the car, once parking mode is initiated, and let the car park itself. Car uses built-in sensors to maneuver the parking structure and find an empty space. Another interesting feature of their cars is M4 Concept Iconic Lights. These are smart, laser-controlled headlights which, helped by an on-board camera, can change patterns according to the situation and warn drivers about potentially dangerous situation by throwing a spotlight on a person, animal, or an object in hazardous vicinity of the vehicle, attracting driver’s attention to them. These headlights can even provide assistance to a driver by virtually ‘painting’ lines and warning signs on the road in case system’s computer assesses incoming hazardous situation.
Audi came to CES in style. Jack (A7 self-driving prototype) autonomously drove form San Francisco to Las Vegas, proving that it is road-ready. Folks from Audi will release a self-driving car by 2016, while their parent Volkswagen Group expressed similar plans for 2017, if legislation is in check by then.
It is self-evident at this stage that all of these vehicles are supposed to have some sort of propulsion system based on fuel cells.

So, please have a seat and relax, the computer will take care of everything else.