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Autonomous concept car smart vision EQ fortwo: Welcome to the future of car sharing

30.August 2017
Stuttgart

The smart vision EQ fortwo provides a new vision of urban mobility and individualised, highly flexible, totally efficient local public transport: the autonomous concept vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location. 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 show car is the first vehicle from the Daimler Group to take the logical step of dispensing with a steering wheel and pedals.

The smart vision EQ fortwo 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).

With the electrically powered smart vision EQ fortwo, smart is presenting a concept vehicle from the relatively recent product and technology brand EQ at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show. More than ten new electric cars are set to go into series production at Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022, from the smart to the large SUV. smart took the first step back in 2007 with the smart electric drive and today optionally offers all its models with an electric powertrain.

"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," says 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."

Shared: The smart vision EQ fortwo is a new vision of car sharing. Because transforming "urban traffic" into "city flow" in future will not only benefit the users but the public at large too, cities and municipal authorities are also a target group for future car sharing concepts from smart. Currently, a car2go vehicle is hired somewhere in the world every 1.4 seconds. At present car2go has over 2.6 million customers worldwide – and the number is growing all the time. The latest studies predict that the number of users of car sharing schemes worldwide will have quintupled by 2025 to 36.7 million. One of the factors that make car2go so popular is that free-floating car sharing is spontaneous and flexible. The car does not have to be picked up from or taken back to a specific location. It can be hired and left anywhere in the designated "home" area.

Autonomous: The smart vision EQ fortwo concept vehicle demonstrates how autonomous driving could make future car sharing even more convenient, simple and economically efficient. Thanks to swarm intelligence and autonomous driving, the smart vision EQ fortwo 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.

Connected: The smart vision EQ fortwo is summoned using a mobile device. New individualisation options help users to recognise that it is "their" vehicle: the Black Panel at the front (size: 44 inches/105 x 40 cm) as well as large projection surfaces at the sides allow the smart vision EQ fortwo to be personalised. LED displays in place of the headlamps can echo a classic look (from sporty to neutral) or take on an eye-like shape, which allows the vehicle to communicate on a more human level. The rear lamps can also have a conventional look or provide detailed information - for example warnings or traffic information. The front radiator grille serves on the one hand to add a personal touch and on the other to communicate with other road users (e.g. information for pedestrians crossing the road). The doors of the show car are coated with a film that can be activated as required. If the car is unoccupied, information about local events, the weather, news or the time can be displayed. The smart's Black Panel Grille indicates whether the car is occupied by one or by two passengers.

Those who want can use the 1+1 sharing function to make contact with other interesting users. Possible passengers are suggested on the basis of their saved profiles and current travel plans, and can be accepted or rejected. When two passengers are on board, the large display in the interior shows shared interests such as concerts they have recently attended or sports that they play. The extra time gained as a result of travelling in an autonomous vehicle can be used to chat and interact.

Electric: The smart vision EQ fortwo features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 30 kWh. When not in use, it makes its way independently to a charging station to load up with new energy. Alternatively, the cars can dock with the power grid inductively, feed in electricity and act as a "swarm battery", taking pressure off the grid. smart is playing a key role here in shaping the energy revolution.
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I hope smart goes back to the distinctive single-box design for the next generation. :)

That said, looks like smart's future is going all EV and...autonomous?
 
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