At the IAA 2017, manufacturers not only showcase technologies and cars that are already on the market, but also the future of mobility. Typically the highlight of the show, concept cars offer us a vision of tomorrow.
This year, the Daimler AG shows off the smart vision EQ fortwo. According to Dieter Zetsche, this will be Daimler’s first vehicle not to be owned by an individual and designed specifically for car sharing. It will be SAE Level 5, meaning it will be fully automated and the car itself will perform all driving tasks.
The EQ fortwo features no steering wheel or pedals along with connected features, making it ideal for the smooth distribution of traffic across a city. Thanks to swarm-intelligence, cars can automatically drive around the city and be available to passengers on demand. This is in a bid to reduce the wait time for customers and is a foreign concept from today’s taxi services, where you have to hope that there is a car available in your area or walk to the next car available.
I believe autonomous car sharing vehicles are definitely the future and I cannot wait for it to happen. Especially in big cities where it could significantly reduce traffic jams and air pollution.
It’s not all substance, though. The smart vision EQ fortwo is full of style and features including interactive headlights and a grill display. The headlamps are more than just pretty, they signal to pedestrians when to cross the road and the display in the grill is customizable – e.g. it can even show your photo so that you can easily identify your car.
The door concept is very futuristic, too. The driver can choose whether the door is opaque or transparent. It opens behind the rear axle, allowing a generous entry and a view into the vehicle interior – perfect for cities where parking space is sparse and narrow. Thanks to the absence of the steering wheel and the pedals, there is also a lot of extra space for the two passengers.
With the smart vision EQ fortwo concept car, Daimler presented a very interesting concept car of the future. Autonomous car sharing will definitely be the future, especially in big crowded cities. In Europe, smart Automobile has already gained a lot of experience with the service Car2Go. Vehicles that are on the road autonomously in the city in order to meet the constantly changing demands of the customers were always my idea and dream of car sharing. I can’t wait to sit in a Level 5 autonomous vehicle to get from A to B in comfort and style.
But smart was not alone. Audi announced a new concept car, the Audi Aicon at IAA 2017. It’s also a level 5 autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals, with a futuristic design and an electric range up to 800 km. Without a steering wheel, the passengers must trust the car. Trust is strongly built by language, where Nuance comes into play with its connected car platform Dragon Drive – that can understand and execute commands in natural language.
With autonomous cars on the horizon, voice technology will have even more influence on the car of the future. For example, voice biometrics can be used for authentication and could even become your car key.
Of course, voice-controlled automated car-sharing vehicles might be a few years away, but the automotive industry is truly on the cusp of a revolution. Something definitely worth waiting for. Check out the video below:
Johannes Knapp is founder of NewGadgets.de and runs the blog since 2006, focusing mostly on topics around mobile computing and mobility. Johannes spends most of his time on airplanes and visits the most important events and trade shows worldwide. Especially Taipei, being one of the technology capitals, appeals to him and he spends time there every two months to visit the most important companies and to stay ahead of the latest technological trends.