We’re on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show this week, taking stock of the best car companies have to offer. A huge shift for auto shows has been the growing focus placed on the technology side. And with Detroit coming right on the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we’ve been bombarded with a one-two punch of cool, new innovations. Here are the ones worth pushing through the crowd to play with.
Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury In Motion Concept
Not everyone enjoys driving. But even those with a passenger preference can get tired of sitting there like a dummy. Mercedes-Benz gets that, with confirmation coming by way of the F015 Luxury In Motion concept. Google has been playing with the driverless car concept for a few years, but Mercedes has pushed it even further, reimagining the layout and feel of the car interior. While it resembles Chicago’s famous Cloud Gate sculpture on the outside, the inside of the autonomous vehicle envelops passengers in an electronic control windshield, and seats that swivel to mimic a high-priced table at a chic lounge or café. Giving up control has never seemed so appealing.
Local Motors 3D-Printed Car
If you still doubt that the future belongs to 3D printing, prepare to become a believer. Phoenix, Arizona-based Local Motors, an up-and-coming player in the automotive game, has printed a car on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show. The Strati, which bears resemblance to something you might unlock in Mario Kart, crowdsourced its design, and its existence from Local Motors’ 3D printer expertise. The entire process took roughly 44 hours, in confines comparable to a New York City apartment. The company has expressed intent to build the Strati—and other designs—out of 40,000 square foot “micro-factories” as soon as the third quarter of this year.
Volkswagen Golf R Touch Concept
News of the R-trim Golf was exciting enough, but the car’s high-tech “Touch Concept” on the floor of CES had us literally raising our hands. With the goal of eliminating all physical cabin switches, VW has created a touch-free, gesture-controlled interface that controls virtually everything besides throttle and brakes. Swipe your hand near the windows to raise or lower them. A similar motion will open or close the sunroof. Everything from the headlights, to the infotainment system can be operated with zero physical contact—a blessing for techies and germaphobes alike. Our friends at CNET published the video from VW’s announcement of the Touch, check it out above to see the tech in action.