Will Luxury in Motion be a Lounge on Wheels?
A large portion of the world population nowadays lives in urban centers. According to the World Bank, as of 2015, close to 54% of all people live in an urban area. City residents live in busy, congested environments. Most will spend several hours a day commuting back and forth from work or school. They’ll take the bus, or they’ll drive to the office. The time they’re spending on the road sets them back from their productive schedule or from their down time.
What if you could get that time back from your day? Time is, after all, the biggest commodity we own.
How much time do you spend in traffic?
According to the transportation analytics firm Inrix, it’s a lot of time. In densely populated US cities, a person averages up to 80 hours per year stuck in traffic. The top-ranking traffic city in the US is Los Angeles, with an average of 81 hours a year. San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and Houston all come as close seconds. London is the only European city where commuters spend more time in traffic than in any US city with an average of 101 hours a year.
These numbers only seem to increase every year. Not everything is bad news, though. Inrix said that increased traffic often comes hand-in-hand with economic advances.
Cities that have experienced the most economic improvement during the past year are at highest risk for consequences related to worsened traffic conditions, including reduced productivity, higher emissions and increased stress levels.
The human factor is one of the main causes of traffic and additionally; roads are reaching their maximum capacity. It’s completely possible that urban transportation will no longer be possible without encountering traffic jams. There is a possible solution near at hand with automated transportation. If the current trends continue, self-driving vehicles are slowly but surely becoming a necessity. It could also be the solution for terrible traffic, car accidents and traffic-related stress.
People need to be transported from one place to another. Either for work, school, or doctor visits, this need is undeniable. In urban centers, this need becomes exponential. Take a large number of people and put them in cars on the road at peak hours, and then a city, which wasn’t designed appropriately for such a large number of vehicles, becomes a gigantic bottleneck. What could have been a period of productive time for everyone who is stuck becomes dead time.
The next step to make roads less monotonous and time killing is to bring the automatization technology into our vehicles, in a way we can use the time we’re moving from one place to another in a productive way. Electric and automated cars are being used nowadays in university campuses no longer as mere prototypes. They are showcasing the future in transportation, and giving full test-drives. Fully functional and self-driven in several cities, they’re close to become the safest way of commuting.
The additional advantage of this kind of transportation is that people no longer need to have a physical ability to drive and maneuver a steering wheel. There could also be less ambulances on the road—road hazards in their very nature— since people could be using their own automated cars to get to the emergency room if their condition isn’t critical.
Moving the Future
The next big race in the automotive industry isn’t about speed. It involves having a hands-free transportation experience.
At the International Auto Show in January, the Obama administration promised to take a step into the future of transportation. The Secretary of the Department of Transportation Anthony Foxx attended the North American Auto Show. He outlined a proposal on investing almost $4 billion in autonomous vehicle research and development over the next ten years. This is due to the potential for autonomous vehicles to “save lives, save time, and save fuel.”
Secretary Foxx remarked that 83% of all car accidents are caused by human error. It’s possible that by reducing human involvement in driving, humans will get to their destinations faster, and roads will be safer for everyone.
The Future is Here
Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of fully autonomous vehicle design. Although the technology has been developed for decades, the concept isn’t new.
One of the first brands that pioneered into the automatization world was Mercedes Benz, in the late 1980s, along with Bundeswehr University Munich. Many car brands have since developed their own kind of technology to implement safety automated features to their newest motor vehicles. It’s already being used to a certain degree in most recent models in car brands across the market.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-series is a fully equipped line which has the technology for partial automation, and it has been adapted in a way to seamlessly merge with the cutting-edge yet classic Mercedes Benz Style. The design was proposed and the market waters were tested for autonomous vehicles. The answer has been tremendous success. It’s also streamlined to perform with no less quality than with any other luxury vehicle. And the new Mercedes-Benz concept is embracing the possibilities of the company’s view for the future.
A Wheeled Lounge
The most recent necessity for city dwellers is now a way to turn dead time spent on traffic jams into creative collaboration spaces and opportunities. The idea of a wheeled lounge is innovative, one, which the new Mercedes-Benz concept car encompasses. Luxury sedan cars can turn into a collaborative round table for four comfortably seated passengers, all while mobilizing to their next location.
The concept is basically to be able to have a living room on wheels. It’s an extension of your home, of your living and working space. The best thing about this concept car is that it lets you connect with the outside world from the inside, all while being fully integrated with it surroundings. Other cars will be able to communicate with the car system, and the moving lounge will be able to identify potential road hazards. Other objects on the road like pedestrians, joggers, moving bicycles and strollers will all be identified and the vehicle will navigate accordingly.