SMART VISION EQ
After years of jokes and nervous speculation about the future of driving, a manufacturer has finally unveiled the first car to forgo pedals and a steering wheel. With a wink and a nod, Smart introduced its self-driving minicar concept and with it, the brand’s vision for the future of “urban luxury”.
The 30-kilowatt lithium-ion-powered concept is fully autonomous and picks up passengers on demand, conforms to Daimler’s creed for the future – that cars should be connected, autonomous, shared, and electric to reduce traffic, emissions, and noise pollution in crowded cities.
In the future, users will be able to order and operate the car – which will function at Level 5 autonomy – entirely from their smartphone. The smart EQ fortwo will be able to pick up another passenger on the way to split expenses, but will match riders based on musical preferences, Facebook likes, and other profile information. When the second passenger boards, the wraparound digital screen on the dashboard would show the pair’s shared interests, such as concerts they’ve attended or sports that they play. The car fits two people, but larger groups could order a second car to follow behind. The bench seat divides into a two-part barrier that strangers can erect to create a sense of privacy.
When it’s not shuttling passengers around the city, the smart vision EQ fortwo will be able to drive itself to a station to recharge its battery. It could also connect to and feed electricity back into the to the power grid to serve as a “swarm battery” or, according to Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, display public service announcements such as news, sports scores, weather forecasts, or the time of day on the fortwo’s large side panels.