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Daimler Unveils Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Driverless Car Concept – No Steering Wheel, Pedals

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【Summary】Interestingly, the concept car offers a preview about the company’s stance on the future of transportation – suggesting the business foresees the gradual decline of internal combustion engines.

Michael Cheng    Sep 05, 2017 2:00 PM PT
Daimler Unveils Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Driverless Car Concept – No Steering Wheel, Pedals

Concept cars are typically used by auto brands to showcase their interests in specific features and niches within the industry. In the arenas of autonomous driving, electric vehicles and ride-sharing, Daimler, a German automotive corporation with solid presence in commercial trucking and private-vehicle manufacturing, recently unleashed a concept car that symbolizes its futuristic goals for the new era of smart, connected transportation.

Called the EQ fortwo, the vehicle is fully autonomous and uses smartphone applications for commands. At the moment, the previous version of the fortwo is being used for Car2go services – the auto manufacturer's car rental startup. The concept car is considered to be an upgraded version of the economical, urban unit.

"The show car is the first vehicle from the Daimler Group to take the logical step of dispensing with a steering wheel and pedals," said the company. "With the ‘one-and-a-half box' design, the pronounced, powerful wheel arches and the short overhangs at the front and rear, the proportions are typically Smart."

Pioneering SAE-L5 Tech and Designs

The concept car successfully juggles private-vehicle applications with ride-sharing features. A black, digital signboard located at the front of the vehicle notifies pedestrians about its status. For example, when approaching busy intersections, the car could let people know it's performing a breaking maneuver in real-time. In the opposite scenario, flashing an inviting sign could tell individuals it is safe to cross in front of the vehicle. This component, like the other upbeat features of the futuristic car, is still at the early stages of development. For SAE-L5 autonomous vehicles, communicating with pedestrians is critical for full integration with cities.

The EQ fortwo is a service car, which means owners can summon the unit using a smartphone. A customizable dashboard hosts various passenger profiles for optimized rides. Furthermore, with such capabilities, the vehicle probably won't stay parked often, allowing it to serve multiple passengers within the location simultaneously. For instance, instead of being parked all day next to an office building during work, the car could be summoned by another family member during the same period.

Autonomous Ride-sharing and Electric Features

The concept car is designed to cater to new services in the transportation industry, such as ride-sharing around cities. This is why the unit doesn't need ample cargo space or a spacious, three-seat row. Most of the vehicle's passengers will likely be workers, people doing errands around cities and casual partygoers.

"The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility," explained Smart chief executive officer Annette Winkler. "It is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalizable and, of course, electric."

Under the hood, the car is powered by a 30-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. As a service vehicle, it will autonomously seek out nearby battery stations when it needs to recharge. Interestingly, this offers a preview about the company's stance on the future of transportation – suggesting the business foresees the gradual decline of internal combustion engines. Daimler plans to unveil the concept car at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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