What car is 17 feet long, has 4 swiveling lounge seats and a steering wheel that folds into a dashboard?  The buzz about CES this year was the new Mercedes F015. Dubbed a “cocoon on wheels” with video screens controlled by eye motion –  it is as insane as it sounds.

Tune into HuffPost Live at 12:20pm ET on January 23 to see Shibani talk about the future of self-driving cars   http://live.huffingtonpost.com

On the horizon: A Mercedes-Benz that drives itself…or lets you.  Your choice.

We know that Google has been in the self-driving business for years, projecting driver-less cars would hit the roads by 2020.  But until the big car makers jump into the game, getting drivers to hand over the keys will be tough.  Audi, BMW and even Ford have shown some promising prototypes they say we will see by 2026.  Well, at CES this year, Mercedes-Benz showed it has a huge vision for driver-less cars that won’t skimp on luxury.  Sure, the car won’t come out until 2030 but whatever it looks like then, I want one!

self-driving car - Mercedes source Bloomberg

Lounge chair interior seats. Photo source: Bloomberg

Called the F015 Luxury in Motion, “AKA cocoon on wheels”, could include features such as:

– Seating for 4 who will enjoy swiveling lounge-style chairs to face the road or one-another

– The option to drive the car manually

– 6 screens that display driving data, plays entertainment and use gestures and even eye movement to manipulate the car

This is a car that seems like it will be able to do amazing things, though its ability to weave and bob through rush hour traffic remains to be tested and what will become of those chronic backseat drivers we have in our lives?  Luckily we have 20 years to work it all out before this model arrives.

Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Daimler , said at CES in his keynote speech: talks about the radical shift that will come when we leave the driving to the car.

[blocktext align=”center”]”Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society….the car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”[/blocktext]

What if…

There are so many issues to be resolved with self-driving cars including regulation, testing of current models and standardization of technology.  Release date and pricing also will determine how quickly you find me (or anyone else) in one of these puppies.

For Early Adopters…

For those dying to get into the back seat and leaving the driving to the car, your best bet will be to wait for Google’s move in the space.  There is talk that Google is pairing up with auto manufacturers now to get something on the road in 5 years.

 Tune into HuffPost Live at 12:20pm ET on January 23 to see Shibani talk about the future of self-driving cars   http://live.huffingtonpost.com



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