New futuristic Smart car greets you, can be hailed via an app
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Daimler has announced its self-driving 'friendly' electric Smart car, geared toward urban ride sharing, will debut at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
The car, dubbed the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo, is a fully-autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals that riders can hail with an app, much like an Uber taxi.
Passengers can then pick fellow riders based on their mutual interests, and the car will even suggest topics of conversation to stop things getting awkward.
The outside of the car sports a panel on the front that displays welcome messages, destinations, who it is picking up and even warnings to other cars and pedestrians.
The vehicle's side doors open upwards over the rear axle and will display news and weather updates.
Inside the car, a digital screen sits in place of the dashboard, which Daimler says can display various things depending on the riders' preferences.
The EQ Fortwo's functions and settings can be altered through voice-control or through an app.
A lounge-like bench seats up to two people, and if single riders want to share a ride with a stranger, the vehicle will suggest an extra passenger.
Suggestions will be based on the new passenger's location relative to the original trip's route as well as information on each rider's personal profiles.
Once both passengers are seated, the car's internal screen will display shared interests, such as sports they enjoy or concerts they both attended.
The Vision EQ ForTwo's electric motor will be powered by a 30-kWh lithium-ion battery.
In Daimler's futuristic vision, each car would drive itself to a wireless charging station when not actively providing a ride to passengers.
'The Smart vision EQ Fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility,' Smart CEO Annette Winkler said in a statement.
'It is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: Fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalisable and, of course, electric.'
The EQ ForTwo will be a Level Five automated vehicle, meaning it requires no human assistance and can autonomously go anywhere, any time in any conditions.
The EQ ForTwo fleet that Daimler envisions would use 'swarm intelligence' to concentrate in areas of high demand, helping to shorten pick-up times and improve overall system convenience.
There would always be available cars out roaming the roads based on this intelligent mapping, helping to cut reliance on privately owned vehicles.
Passengers will use mobile devices to schedule a ride, and Daimler says each rider will be greeted by a personalised messages displayed on the car's external screens.
Two compact 4-in displays angled outward allow the car to communicate with passengers when necessary, starting with a simple welcome message.
Without a steering wheel, pedals or cabin controls, the concept has a roomy interior considering its size.
A retractable console armrest can serve as a passenger divide and storage area, while extra storage space can be found under the bench.
Daimler says that more than ten new electric cars will begin production by 2022 ranging from large SUVs to smaller cars.
- Daily Mail