CES 2015: Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the coolest driverless concept car ever
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its vision for the future of motoring at CES 2015 with a pod-like concept car, which is designed to function as a mobile luxury living space.
“Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society,” explained head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche. “The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”
The concept design for the F 015 Luxury in Motion features a large interior space, finished in walnut, glass, leather and aluminium, along with four individual lounge chairs for optimum comfort.
Once inside, the chairs swivel round so that the passengers are facing each other. Six screens – controlled with eye-tracking and gesture recognition – are integrated throughout the interior, offering connectivity and entertainment.
“Drivers are relieved of work and stress in situations in which driving is not enjoyable,” said head of group research and Mecedes-Benz cars development Thomas Weber. “The time gained while in their car takes on a whole new quality.”
The concept vehicle can also be placed in manual mode, where a steering wheel would emerge from the dashboard and the driver and passenger seats turn automatically to face the direction of travel.
Large LED light modules on the front and back of the car show which mode it's operating in, with white lights indicating manual driving and a blue hue for when it's in autonomous mode.
Created with carbon fiber reinforced plastic, aluminium and steel, its exterior would weigh around 40 percent less than today's production cars of a similar size.
The city of the future, unveiled
As part of the research conducted for the F 015 Luxury in Motion, Mercedes-Benz also developed a forward-looking scenario called ‘City of the Future 2030+’.
The future of urban infrastructure design – as envisioned by Mercedes-Benz – will consist of special ‘safety zones’, much like today's low-emission zones in city centres, that are only open to autonomous vehicles.
Urban space could also be reclaimed as a result of autonomous vehicles parking themselves outside of a city's central areas.
“In the shared space of the future, humans and machines share the roads,” said Mercedes-Benz in a statement. “The 'car-friendly city' is transformed increasingly into the 'people-friendly city' without any loss of individual freedom”.
“The divide between residential, recreational and traffic areas therefore melts away.”
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.