While we all have been looking forward for the new Mercedes S-class luxury sedan, Mercedes has once again swept the floors off our feet with their latest concept car at CES 2020. It’s called the Vision AVTR for Advanced Vehicle Transformation. The looks are straight out of a movie and in this case, it actually is. The show car is the result of an actual partnership between Mercedes-Benz and James Cameron’s magnanimous film franchise. And now you know why its called AVTR (Avatar).
So, just like the movie, this is a crazy concept vehicle. I mean just look at it. Mercedes-Benz says it all starts with an “inside-out design structure” that combines the car’s interior and exterior into an “emotional whole.” The whole design is very futuristic (not Cybertruck futuristic) and the car has no doors (duh!). The spokes of the wheels light up too and so does that big and bold three pointed star.
Around the back of the car, there are 33 movable, multi-directional “bionic flaps” that are meant to look like scales on a reptile. Obviously, they are not meant to look exactly like them but, they’ll serve a purpose. They provide the vehicle with energy, along with providing the driver and passengers some spectacular views of the outside world. The projections from these “scales” are displayed on a huge triangular display in the dash of the vehicle.
As soon as you sit inside the Vision AVTR, the car will detect your pulse (and affirms it with a thump on the seat back) and can also sense you breathing. Mercedes says that this bio-metric connection is integral to how the concept operates; it wants to merge the passengers and the vehicle into a kind of “symbiotic organism.” The last time we saw that happen, it was with an alien virus that created “Venom” But hey, what do I know!
The pulsing control pad on the console is where you can rest your hand when you enter the car and this is also where you’ll manage all of the vehicle’s key functions. Lift your hand and a menu screen will be projected onto your palm, where you can “explore the world of Pandora from different perspectives” you know like the planet where Avatar is set. The film collaboration is visible on the seats as well which are inspired by the hammock like structures that the Avatar characters sleep in, so you feel supported but also “recumbent”.
Mercedes says that this car can adapt its functions accordingly if you have “inmates” on board. “Screens can be used to monitor the well-being of the children in the rear by the parents at the front,” the company said in a statement. Oh! Yeah, forgot to add that Mercedes refers to children as “inmates”. There’s more, the front passenger’s pulse is displayed in light on the seat backs, which is supposed to give your kids “a sense of connectedness and security”. The car (if it is one anymore) has what the company calls a Magic Pool, which “offers learning-oriented gaming and a child-friendly augmented reality experience”. Points of interest along the drive route — rivers, mountains, buildings — are shown with facts and info. It’s kind of like a learn-as-you-go thing. All this for the “inmates”.
A big theme behind this concept is sustainability. The seats, for example, are made from vegan materials; the floor is made up of a new wood type called “Karuun”, which grows as a natural raw material thats harvested by hand in Indonesia. Also, the power source for the Vision AVTR is a new battery technology made up of graphene-based organic cell chemistry, which is totally free of rare earths and metals. The battery materials are compost-able.
The most we know as far the mechanical aspects are considered is that the Vision AVTR is autonomous, it can crab-walk side to side all because of its front and rear axles that can turn sideways up to 30 degrees. The car appears to be more of a far-fetched and forward thinking concept than Mercedes’ autonomous future. But, no I still wouldn’t call this promotional material for James Cameron (even if it could be).