The F 015 it demonstrated this week wasn’t even equipped with self-driving technology, like the lasers and computers the car would need to be actually autonomous. It drove passengers on a preprogrammed route, framed by San Francisco in the distance and towering cranes at the Port of Oakland.
Instead, the focus was on the experience of riding in an autonomous car. Mercedes thinks that experience centers on a living space shielded from the distractions and the masses of the outside world.
And yes, it is luxurious.
The vehicle’s carriage-style design features saloon doors that open wide to reveal an interior that’s more like a living room than the inside of a car. There are no side pillars or center obstructions. The two front seats swivel around completely so the driver and front-seat passenger can face the rear of the car.
The interior features a mix of wood, carpet and touch-enabled panels that blend together into an environment Mercedes-Benz rightly describes as a “cocoon.” When both front seats are turned around, back-seat passengers can activate a touch-screen table that extends into the middle of the cabin and can be used by all passengers.