Level 5 autonomy means that the focus shifts from the driver to the rider.
Level 5 autonomous driving technology has been a hot topic for years now. In a nutshell, vehicles like this won't require human intervention to complete a journey. Tesla boss Elon Musk has made bold statements about his company being close to basic Level 5 autonomy, but these claims have been aggressively denounced by experts. Even Amazon is making moves towards self-driving vehicles.
Still, it's nice to dream sometimes, and that's what Lujie Huang has done by creating the Mercedes-Benz Vision Duet concept as his thesis design project at ArtCenter College of Design. The institution is based in Pasadena, California.
Huang's EV concept paints a picture of a 2035 fully electric grand tourer with seating for three and Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Much like the Mercedes Vision AVTR Concept, the Vision Duet has no traditional steering wheels or pedals, so Huang has designed a cabin that is less driving-focused and more riding-focused.
This is evident in the lounge-like layout, with occupants able to face each other over a large table in the center, fostering a more social environment. The open cabin reinforces both human-human and human-nature relationships. Oh, and there are pop-out refrigerators on either side of the bench-style seat to store your wine. With the car doing all the driving, traditional knobs and controls have been entirely done away with.
The sleek and dramatic lines of the Vision Duet are in line with concept car norms, although the only real nod to current Mercedes models like the S-Class is the large three-pointed star in front. Other styling elements include especially large wheels, a slim LED lighting strip spanning the width of the front fascia, and another full-length lighting bar at the back.
Early in his presentation, Huang references the shape of the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL with its gullwing-style doors. When open, they afford a similarly expansive outward view to the Vision Duet's rounded cutouts. If manufacturers can get Level 5 autonomy developed and approved, we can see how Huang's beautifully detailed design could point to luxury vehicles of the future.