Although public transport services would seem to be the way urban mobility will one day rely mainly on, the way the services will be offered may be different from what we have today. One idea proposed by smart in its Vision EQ fortwo concept car provides a new vision of urban mobility and individualised, highly flexible, totally efficient local public transport. It is an autonomous vehicle which picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location and sends them to their specified destination.

New individualisation options help users to recognise that it is ‘their’ vehicle. By means of the Black Panel Grille at the front as well as large projection surfaces at the sides, the smart Vision EQ fortwo allows unprecedented individualisation of the vehicle, ideal for car sharing. Freed from the task of driving, the passengers are able to relax in the large interior. The concept car is the first vehicle from the Daimler Group to take the logical step of dispensing with a steering wheel and pedals.

It is also a car in which all of the individual fields of expertise that make up the CASE corporate strategy are combined, allowing users in the city intuitive access to individual mobility. CASE stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).

“The smart Vision EQ fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility; it is the most radical car-sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalisable and, of course, electric,” said smart CEO Annette Winkler. “With the smart Vision EQ fortwo, we are giving a face to the themes with which Mercedes-Benz Cars describes the vision of future mobility within the CASE strategy.”

2.7 metres in overall length, the Vision EQ fortwo demonstrates how autonomous driving could make future car-sharing even more convenient, simple and economically efficient. Thanks to swarm intelligence and autonomous driving, it heralds a new era in car-sharing. Users do not have to look for the next available car – it will find them and collect the passengers directly from their chosen location. And thanks to swarm intelligence and the resulting predictability of demand, it will probably already be nearby, making the journey to pick up a ‘hire car’ a thing of the past. The interconnected vehicles are always on the road; utilisation increases and, at the same time, the amount of traffic and the number of parking spaces required in urban areas are reduced.

Power is provided by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 30 kWh. When not in use, the car will make its way independently to a charging station to replenish electrical energy. Alternatively, the cars can dock with the power grid inductively, feed in electricity and act as a ‘swarm battery’, taking pressure off the city’s grid.

“The smart Vision EQ fortwo embodies the urban luxury of the future. It is a radical approach with a cool and minimalist design. The show car has the hallmark smart proportions, with accentuated, pronounced wheel arches at the four corners and with no overhang,” said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. “A multiplicity of digital surfaces inside and outside allows the next level of communication between human and automobile. The customer is able to personalise the vehicle according to their individual needs.”

The door concept is a distinctive feature. To save space, the two doors pivot wing-like over the rear axle, making access easier and creating a fascinating architecture. The door concept also reduces the danger of collision with cyclists and pedestrians.

Rose gold-coloured, three-dimensional elements in the wheels and in the diffuser allude to the electric drive system and create a bridge to the hallmark EQ design. The side windows have a tapering hexagonal look while the clear, future-oriented exterior design is reinforced by white metallic surfaces and dark-tinted glass surfaces. In a contemporary and technological manner, the smart plays with colour on the exterior by means of a large number of display graphics.

The concept car is the first of the Daimler Group’s vehicles to take the logical step of dispensing with the steering wheel and pedals. The car’s functions are controlled via personal mobile device or voice input, an arrangement that is intuitive, convenient and hygienic.

Dispensing with conventional control elements makes the white interior appear even more spacious. The dashboard is replaced by a 24‑inch screen which is surrounded by a rose gold-coloured frame. The outer edges feature two smaller displays which can be used for messages of ‘Welcome’, for example.

Covered with a new, innovative and high-quality man-made leather, the white seats are easy to clean and therefore compatible with the idea of sharing. The lounge-like bench seat offers room for up to two passengers. If required, a retractable centre armrest creates a separation between the occupants or serves as a stowage facility. The white interior creates a generous impression of space. Further, intelligent stowage options are available on the floor and under the bench seat. Luggage and personal accessories can be secured under blue rubber tightening straps.

[Chips Yap]

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