As traffic continues to become the most hated thing on the planet, more people are ditching their personal vehicles and flocking to ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber for their commutes. But the car manufacturers are fighting back with their own services. Mercedes-Benz's weapon against Uber isn't a program, but a version of the Smart Fortwo that combines ride sharing, car sharing, electric commuting, and autonomous driving in one futuristic, buzz-wordy package. With Uber's autonomous division dead in California, Benz might come out on top in the War of the Ride-sharers.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo on Wednesday, a concept car that plans to usher in a new era of "public" transportation. The futuristic two-seater is characterized by its LED lights and grille that replace all outside lights, as well as special side windows that display all kinds of information like a head-up display. The doors make getting out and avoiding pedestrians/cyclists easier by rotating up and over the back wheels.
The interior is even more revolutionary, forgoing pedals and a steering wheel in favor of control via smartphone and voice commands. Instead of a dashboard, the Fortwo features a customizable 24-inch touchscreen.
The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo is the embodiment of Mercedes' new CASE vision, adhering to the 4 pillars of Connectivity, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric.
The concept stays connected via a smartphone app that users can call for a car with, as well as customize their vehicle's interior (lights and displays) with a unique profile in the application.
The car features fully autonomous driving; it will find its owner's location when he/she requests it and pick the person up, then drive said person to his/her destination like a robotic Uber driver.
services component builds upon car sharing programs like Zipcar to allow users to "drive" their Fortwos around and leave them in designated drop-off locations when they're done.
The EQ Fortwo stays electric, powered by a 30-kWh battery; unused cars will automatically drive to a charging station for refueling.