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Meet the Mercedes-Benz Vision Duet, the next impossible concept for the luxury automaker to conquer!

Fast forward to the year 2035 and you’ll be riding in the cozy confines of your luxury coupe for your next escapade – connecting with nature like never before. That’s what designer Lujie Huang has proposed for millennials to be close to nature and also with their close ones. As a part of his senior thesis, while studying at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, Lujie thought of creating a 3-seat grand tour which has an inside out design approach. According to him, “The objective is to capture the magical moments of user experience offered by autonomous vehicles as a part of our lifestyles.”

He calls this luxury coup of the future “Mercedes-Benz Vision Duet” and it has the essence of marine design influence and by the Mobius strip (yes, the same one that inspired Tony Stark!) The coupe has cocooned seating embodied with an open seating experience, much like the two-seater coupe convertible. Huang believes that autonomous electric vehicles will be a common thing by the 2030s. Given the level 5 autonomous design of the Vison Duet, the car carries that very imagination with no driving controls like steering wheel, pedals, or gear shifters. The inside-out approach is evident in the comfortable forward-facing seats and a center table inside the cabin. On the one side on the front, there’s a retracting storage drawer for food and utensils while on the opposite side there is a built-in mini-fridge. When the car is parked amidst nature, the glass roof retracts and the third seat opposite the conventional seating area (inspired by the seating layout of leisure boats) can be used for enjoying the surrounding view with your pals. On the outside, the car impresses with an iconic Mercedes-Benz grille and the rear sporting a strikingly cool bumper design.

The EV also derives inspiration from the classics of the past, blending it with modern luxury which is apparent from the overall flowing design on the coupe. In a way, it also looks influenced by the very future-forward and practical Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR (the names sound similar too). The only predicament of the design and functionality with Huang’s iteration is its practicality! The lack of doors makes safety an issue. Also, not to ignore the ability of the EV to reach high speeds since the aerodynamic drag would make it impossible for the riders to get away with chunky hair after a long trip! The fun is when the car is parked and you can bask in the luxury of a picnic-like setup. Perhaps, the addition of clear glass doors that can be retracted is a more viable option for the riders to feel safe. Maybe Mercedes should ask Tony Stark to share his input after all the Mobius strip did help him breakthrough one difficult problem already!

Designer: Lujie Huang

Ideation and Explorations

The Final Design

BMW-inspired dockable joystick designed to help you control your autonomous vehicle in the future!

Autonomous vehicles are going to be the future of transportation. Or at least partially autonomous ones. And a lot of those we are already seeing around us today. But an SAE level 5 automation is still a distant dream. Until then, partial manual control or at least some form of human intervention will still be needed. But that doesn’t mean the control interface has to be the same. In a substantially advanced self-driving vehicle of the near future, we can quite possibly replace the steering wheel with some other form of control mechanism. One such concept has been developed for BMW by designer Lars Welten while interning there.

Lars draws cues from Oculus Rift’s VR controller to build the form of the joystick and embeds within it the signature design language of the BMW brand. The output is an astonishing product that molds the polygonal surface features quite well into a demanding ergonomic layout. He visualizes the use of concrete/stoneware material as the highlight of the rich design with other parts made in anodized aluminum and polycarbonate. The use of leather and Alcantara adds to the premium feel that goes well with the luxury interiors of BMW’s autonomous vehicles.

Remember, autopilot, be it in cars or airplanes, is just a commonplace terminology. And it doesn’t mean that the vehicle can run completely on its own. That kind of technology has not been developed yet. But little advancements over time like this concept joystick will surely take us there someday. In fact, BMW has applied for a patent of an airplane like steering joystick quite recently. The future might be closer than we think!

Designer: Lars Welten

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Google asks car makers ‘Ullo John, wanna self-driving motor?’


Larry Page's tenure as Googler-in-chief has heralded the death of many ambitious experiments, but even he refuses to kill the self-driving car. His project head, Anthony Levandowski, has now asked the car makers of Detroit to sign up with Mountain View for hardware testing, saying that if driverless cars are not ready by the next decade, then it's "shame on us as engineers." There's still some way to go before the tech is road-worthy, but Google is already working with insurers to work out how your car is going to handle making that call to Geico when things go wrong.

Continue reading Google asks car makers 'Ullo John, wanna self-driving motor?'

Google asks car makers 'Ullo John, wanna self-driving motor?' originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 Apr 2012 06:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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