Posts Tagged ‘autonomous driving’

Volvo has been an excellent constructor of trucks, and had a bit of an advance on semi-autonomous driving : autonomous breaking, safety features. With everyone interested in full autonomous driving, Volvo found out the badass way, because the way things are done in Sweden.

Experiments are taking place 1320 meters below the ground, somewhere in a boliden mine in Sweden, Volvo decided to test its first autonomous truck, self-driving if you want. Subject being tested, Volvo FMX tracks.

Volvo went for the mines idea to test its autonomous program in low coverage areas, of course in a mine you would get none. FXM trucks are equipped with radars, and sensors to scan the whole area of the mine, know it well, and be able to advance. There are 6 security sensors that will tell the track whether or not the area is safe. There is always the possibility of human intervention in driving if the situation is complicated enough for the machine.


It has been a busy year with Mercedes-Benz, I mean the new S class, the C class, the Formula 1 world championship, the AMG GT, the CLS facelift. It was fruitful and for the German constructor, stopping while you are way ahead, is not an option. We all were astounded with the magic done with the S class safety systems, we all said that it is a new step for man toward self-drivable cars, well, here is one, revealed yesterday ( January 6th 2014) at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2015. Mercedes’ official YouTube channel has a video for us and it gives something like this :

Its name is the F 015 concept, or according to Mercedes’ philosophy, it is luxury in motion. What it looks like, it is that, the future of automobile is so close, you may even say that, the future is here. At a first sight, the vehicle doesn’t look like much of a car, yes it has 4 wheels, and 4 doors, but, there is that bonnet part, it is too short, with a very long wheel-base. Dimensions of the car are as follows, it’s 205.5 inches long, 79.4 inches wide, and 60 inches tall. The wheel-base is 142.1 inches which is 9.6 longer than the S class, which is long. The F 015 is streamlined, pointing towards the ground, has futuristic wheels, and a long light bar in the rear. The F 015 chassis is made from carbon-fiber, aluminium and strong steel. The body weighs 40 percent less than production cars nowadays.


The car is commanded by a push of a button, or a finger swipe, to be more up to date with technology, and it comes to you like a puppy who wants to play, it approaches you softly, opens its doors for you and invites you in, the chairs turns for you, and some soft German automated female voice tells you to “Get in”. In addition to that, the car has road and pedestrian recognition systems, it has two different LED light indications, to tell whether the driver is driving or the car is doing it itself. When detecting a pedestrian, undulating lights on the grille indicate to him that F 015 detects them, then according to it, the car stops, draws a laser projected cross walk, and lets the driver know that he/she can cross the road in safety, using that same soft German female automated voice. It can indicate through panels to the driver behind it to slow down, “SLOW” or that it is braking “STOP”, as you know, Mercedes is all about security and crash avoidance. That is how futuristic it is.

The Luxury in Motion is for the individual who wants to retreat to a private place, relieving themselves of the stress and work involved with driving in the ever more hostile urban environment where driving is not enjoyable” according to Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes cars.

In the interior, the saloon car, or moving conference room is really from the future, for starters, it is spacious, then there are screens all over the place. These screens are used to channel information between the driver or passengers and the car. Everyone now can take part in controlling the car, choice is offered in destination (of course), drive mode (relaxed or dynamic). The interior is white, with an ambient lighting, a soft blue generally. Chairs rotate easily, in a regular setting, they rotate 30° towards the door to allow a much more easier getting in or out of the car, people inside the car can opt for a more facing each other setting and rotate the luxurious chairs in that order. Doors open to 90° degrees, for a more comfortable get out/ get in. The car carpet is no more, instead of it, there is a hardwood floor, made of open-pore walnut wood. Of course, this car still has a steering wheel, to let the driver feel a bit of control over the car, it is Mercedes’ way to say, the human part is still needed.

Mercedes-Benz F015 - Luxury in Motion

Because the car can be controlled from any of the touchscreens, “any passenger can become the driver,” Dieter Zetsche.

What is powering this machine from the future? Mercedes said it would be an electric-drive system, a plug-in hybrid. 2 electric motors, possibly mounted one at each front wheel provide propulsion, the main generators would be a fuel-cell stack, hydrogen tank and lithium sulfate battery pack. Top speed will be around 70 mph.

This car, as smart, and future telling is, is not maybe suitable for us, big engine admirers, because car love is about that power, the noise, the design amongst other things.