Never let it be said that Mercedes lacks imagination. In fact, its latest concept vehicle — the Mercedes Vision AVTR — is a testament to the creativity that exists deep within the corporate structure of what many see as a relatively staid maker of premium automobiles. Where rival BMW seems to be intent on producing cars with the biggest grilles in history, Mercedes planners have imagined a future for the automobile that stretches the idea of what a car could be. [Notice we did not say it’s what a car should be.]
Mercedes AVTR & Avatar
The AVTR concept vehicle you see here was created in collaboration with the team from the movie Avatar and embodies the vision of Mercedes designers, engineers, and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future. Officially, AVTR stands for Advanced Vehicle Transportation, but it also pays homage to the input from the Avatar team.
With its four high performance and near-wheel electric motors, the Vision AVTR embodies a particularly agile implementation of the vision of a dynamic luxury saloon, according to a Mercedes blog post. With a combined power of more than 350 kW, the Vision AVTR sets a new benchmark for EQ Power.
Thanks to the intelligent and fully variable torque distribution, the power of the four fully individually controllable motors is not only managed in the best possible way in terms of driving dynamics, but in a highly efficient manner. The innovative all-wheel drive with torque vectoring enables completely new freedoms and guarantees driving dynamics at the highest level, while at the same time providing the best possible active safety, the company says.
Because each wheel can be driven separately, it is possible for the Vision AVTR to move sideways by approximately 30 degrees. This so-called “crab movement” gives the concept vehicle a slithering capability to match its reptilian appearance
Revolutionary Battery Technology
The innovative Vision AVTR electric powertrain is based on a powerful and compact high voltage battery that uses graphene-based organic cell chemistry. This completely eliminates the use of rare, toxic, and expensive materials, resulting in electromobility that is fully independent of fossil resources. The battery is 100% recyclable and in line with Mercedes’ mission to make its vehicles part of a completely circular raw materials economy in the future.
The battery is said to have an energy density of 1,200 Wh per liter and can be fully recharged in less than 15 minutes. Wireless conductive charging technology is also built in. With a capacity of approximately 110 kWh, the Vision AVTR will be able to travel more than 700 kilometers on a full battery charge. Advanced regenerative braking with higher efficiency than conventional systems contributes to the high energy efficiency of the overall system.
Focus On Efficiency
At Mercedes, the quest for efficiency goes far beyond just the driving experience. The efficiency of secondary systems such as heating and cooling or infotainment systems is also maximized to avoid negatively affecting the drive power of the vehicle itself. Energy consumption per computing operation is already a key target in the development of new computer chips. This trend will continue in the coming years with the growth of sensors and artificial intelligence in the automotive industry.
The neuro-inspired approach used to create the Vision AVTR promises to reduce the energy requirements of sensors, chips, and other components to a few watts. Integrated solar plates at the rear of the car will supply much of the power needed to operate those secondary systems. The 33 multi-directional movable surface elements act as “bionic flaps.”
Merging Of The Interior & Exterior
Mercedes has taken a completely new approach to the design of the Vision AVTR. The holistic concept combined the exterior and interior design principles from the first sketch. The design process began with the experience of the passengers and consciously focused on their perceptions and needs. The goal was to create a car that prolongs the perception of its passengers. It was also a matter of creating an immersive experience space in which passengers connect with each other, with the vehicle, and the surrounding area in a unique way.
Sustainable materials are used throughout the interior. Depending on the ambient light, the textiles used change color from dark blue to a subtle light blue. These seats are refined by the vegan DINAMICA®, the first and only microfiber that guarantees environmental sustainability throughout the entire production cycle. It consists of recycled material made from old clothing, flags, and PET plastic bottles. During production, attention is paid to low pollutant emissions and low energy consumption. Thanks to its versatility, maximum performance, and high quality, DINAMICA® is suitable for use in luxurious car interiors. It also guarantees slip resistance for passengers on the seats. The softness of the material gives the occupants a “welcome home” feeling.
The Vision AVTR features digital neurons that flow from the grille through the wheels to the rear. The first interaction in the interior between people and the vehicle happens completely intuitively via the control unit. By placing a hand on the center console, the interior comes to life and the vehicle recognizes the driver by his or her breathing. The car thereby establishes a biometric connection with the driver and increases awareness of the environment. The digital neurons flow from the interior into the exterior and visualize the flow of energy and information. For example, when driving, the neurons flow over the outside of the vehicle. When changing direction, the energy flows to the corresponding side of the vehicle.
An Immersive Experience
When the boundaries between vehicle and living beings are lifted, Mercedes is able to combine luxury and sustainability and make the vehicles as conservative of resource as possible. With the Vision AVTR, the company is demonstrating how a vehicle can blend harmoniously into its environment and communicate with it. In the ecosystem of the future, the ultimate luxury is the fusion of human and nature with the help of technology. As soon as you get in, the car becomes an extension of your own body and a tool to discover the environment much as how, in the movie Avatar, humans can use avatars to extend and expand their abilities.
When it comes to press releases, this exposition from Mercedes is about as breathless as they come. The important bits are a graphene-based battery with a much higher energy density than anything commercially available today. That’s something to look forward to. As to whether people are panting to own a car that recognizes their breathing and merges the interior with the exterior, well, we will just have to wait and see what that is all about.
The press statement from the company originally used only masculine pronouns, which were removed during the writing of this article. Perhaps it had something to do with translating the original text from German into English, but it seemed tone deaf and out of step with current norms, so the language was recast to remove the sexist overtones. Surely Mercedes is as interested in selling the automobiles of the future to women as well as to men.
Certainly the designers at Mercedes have stretched the boundaries to come up with the Vision AVTR concept. Will it play in Peoria? Are people ready for bionic flaps? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master. Check out the full concept reveal in the video below.
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