Mercedes F800 Style Concept, 2010
Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept is showing the future of premium automobiles from a new perspective, as the five-seat premium sedan combines highly efficient drive technologies with unparalleled safety and convenience features and an emotive design idiom, which interprets current Mercedes-Benz styling in line with the brand's hallmark attribute of refined performance. The F800 Style has a spacious interior full of intelligent seating, operating, and display concepts. Another unique feature of the large sedan is an all-new multi drive platform, which accommodates electric drives with fuel cells (enabling ranges of almost 375 miles) as well as the use of Plug-in Hybrids that can drive for up to 18 miles solely on electricity. Both variants of the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept therefore make locally emission-free mobility possible at the level of a premium-class automobile, while at the same time being fully suited for everyday driving and providing a dynamic driving experience.
Mercedes F800 Style Concept with further innovations for more comfort and safety
In addition to a multi-drive platform that is unparalleled for large sedans and the combination of different alternative drive technologies, the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept features many other technological innovations, such as a new multi-function display concept and a human-machine interface (HMI) with a cam touchpad. The display shows many additional functions not typically found in conventional instrument clusters. The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style's display concept focuses for the first time primarily on electric driving functions.
HMI with cam (camera) touchpad for intuitive and precise operation
The new cam touchpad HMI is an intelligent expansion of the COMAND system. For many years now, Mercedes-Benz has been forging ahead with the development of innovative operating and display systems. A particularly user-friendly innovation is being presented in the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept. The HMI unit here consists of a touchpad on the center console and a camera that records video images of the user's hand as it works the pad. The live image of the hand is presented in transparent form in the central display above the console. The user sees the contours of his or her fingers glide across the image without covering anything, thus ensuring that all of the functions of the currently used menu remain visible so that they can be easily operated by applying slight pressure to the touchpad. Pressing the display with one's fingers generates a feeling similar to that of touching laptop keys so that users know when they are carrying out specific actions.
The cam touchpad HMI unit recognizes finger movements on the pad surface such as wiping, pushing, turning, and zooming, thus enabling intuitive regulation of the climate control system, telephone, stereo and navigation systems, and Internet access. The unit enhances active safety as well, because it is extremely easy and convenient to use and therefore does not distract the driver as much from the actual task of driving. And unlike conventional touchscreens, the HMI cam touchpad does not get smudged with fingerprints.
Conventional touchpad units generally depict hand or finger positions only by a small point in the display. Their lack of precision makes it very risky to enter information while driving, because doing so diverts the motorist's attention too much from the road. By contrast, the HMI with cam touchpad can be easily and safely operated even while driving. Test subjects have confirmed that the HMI with cam touchpad is extremely easy and safe to use, particularly as a result of the transparent depiction of the hand.
Range on Map: Graphic range depiction during electric operation
Another very user-friendly innovation created by the Mercedes engineers is the "Range on Map" function, which shows the remaining possible travel radius during electric vehicle operation as a 360° depiction on a map. Should municipalities only permit purely electric automobile traffic in the future, the driver can determine whether the electric range of his or her vehicle is sufficient for the journey into and out of the urban area by means of the Range on Map function. The system provides this function by combining information on the current battery charge level with data from the navigation system.
In the new operating and display concept, Mercedes-Benz has created a solution that provides an unparalleled amount of information in a system of exemplary clarity. The engineers have thus achieved the goal of successfully developing a comprehensive yet easy-to-operate information and control system for future automobiles equipped with electric or partially electric drive systems. A further-developed version of the system can also display recharging stations.
Mirror display is easy on the eyes
The mirror display of the innovative cam touchpad HMI eliminates the differences between close proximity visibility and visibility over longer distances, thus contributing to the driver's physiological safety in a manner typical of Mercedes. The system displays driving and vehicle information via a mirror in the instrument cluster so that they appear to be farther away. The distance the eye looks into is thus extended, which means less switching between near and far focus — and therefore less fatigue — for the eyes.
New DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant further reduces the stress of driving
Back in 2006, Mercedes-Benz introduced DISTRONIC PLUS, the world's first proximity and speed control system that operates even when the car is standing still. The system substantially reduces the stress for drivers in dense traffic, as it regulates the distance from the vehicle in front even at very low speeds all the way down to a standstill. With its new DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant feature in the F800 Style, Mercedes-Benz has also become the world's first automaker to implement a system that is also capable of automatically following the vehicle in front of it into curves. The system recognizes the difference between driving along curving roads and turning, which means it does not "blindly" follow the vehicle up in front — for example, when it changes lanes in order to exit the highway.
The result is that at speeds of up to about 25 mph, the Traffic Jam Assistant function takes care of both longitudinal and transverse movements so that drivers do not have to steer themselves. The driver can just sit back and relax — with hands on the steering wheel. When the 25 mph mark is exceeded, the steering torque that keeps the vehicle in its lane is gradually reduced to a point at which the Traffic Jam Assistant smoothly disengages. Drivers can, of course, override the system at any time. Sensitive sensors notice active steering movements, thus automatically deactivating the system's lateral control function.
PRE-SAFE 360° improves safety in rear-end collisions
While the Traffic Jam Assistant heightens comfort and active safety, the innovative protective system known as PRE-SAFE 360° further improves passive safety. PRE-SAFE 360° is based on the proactive occupant protection system PRE SAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz. Unlike the previous system, PRE-SAFE 360° also monitors the area behind the vehicle. As a result, the system engages the brakes around 600 milliseconds before an anticipated rear-end collision occurs. The key advantage of this system is that braking a stationary vehicle helps prevent secondary accidents such as those that occur when the car is pushed uncontrolled into an intersection or a pedestrian crossing. It goes without saying that PRE-SAFE 360° also allows the driver to take control at any time. For example, the brake is immediately released if the driver hits the gas pedal, should they recognize that there is sufficient space in front of their vehicle to avoid the rear impact.
Rear pivot-and-slide doors ensure maximum entry comfort
A particularly customer-friendly innovation of the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept is its rear doors. Whereas the front doors are attached to the A-pillar in a conventional manner and open wide toward the front, the rear doors slide backward when opened, as they are suspended from an interior swivel arm. Because the doors slide back close to the vehicle body, occupants find it much easier to get into and out of the automobile in tight parking spaces.
The Mercedes F800 Style Concept also has no B-pillar, making the entire space between the A and C-pillars completely accessible when the doors are opened. Despite the lack of a B-pillar, the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept boasts a bodyshell that is both extremely robust and lightweight, and that meets the stringent demands for crash safety that are a hallmark of the Mercedes brand.
Reinterpretation of the typical Mercedes-Benz design idiom
The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept is both a technology platform and a showcar. This research vehicle was created through close cooperation between technical research and advanced engineering departments and the advanced design studios in Sindelfingen, Germany and Como, Italy. Its exterior appearance is marked by a long wheelbase, short body overhangs, and a sensually flowing roof line.
Front end with distinctive LED headlights
The vehicle's front end features a variation of the radiator grille with the centrally placed star that is typical of Mercedes sports cars. The curved radiator grille bars softly flow around the tube holding the Mercedes-Benz brand star. Along with the wide radiator grille and the generously curved air intake openings, the model's unique bright LED headlights emphasize the dynamic nature of the research vehicle. The headlights are divided into individual segments for daytime running lights, turn signal indicators, and primary headlights. The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept's taillights are also equipped with state-of-the-art LED units that enable an exciting interplay of indirect illumination and direct beams. The result is an attractive, unmistakable, and memorable visual effect.
Wood and light create a cozy interior
Luxurious wood surfaces and lots of light ensure a high level of comfort in the interior of the Mercedes F800 Style Concept. Occupants will immediately notice the modern sense of lightness, and functional elements like the driver area and the door armrests seem to float in space like sculptures. The innovative lightweight-construction seats in the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept consist of a magnesium shell and a carbon fiber laminate shell backed with a fine yet resistant netting. The seat shell also features genuine wood veneer. For the veneer process, Mercedes-Benz engineers used a 3D surface coating procedure designed especially for the veneering of three-dimensional surfaces. This same procedure was used to create the wood finish in the center console, on the doors, and in the driver area. These wood finishing pieces are molded as 3D laminated components and are augmented by an aluminum core, which ensures that the components meet the high crash safety standards that are a hallmark of Mercedes.
Successful transfer from research to series production
Mercedes-Benz has presented 13 research vehicles since the early 1980s. The range of innovative and pioneering automobiles that was unveiled — beginning with Auto 2000 in 1981 and leading up to today's F800 Style — offers proof of the consistency and foresight with which Mercedes-Benz engineers address the core issues of research and technology in order to develop innovative solutions for the future. Many systems that were first used in research vehicles and viewed as revolutionary at the time are now found in Mercedes-Benz production cars, including the DISTRONIC proximity-controlled cruise control, which was first installed in the F 100 in 1991 and made its series production debut in the S-Class in 1998.
The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept is continuing this approach. Like its predecessors, the model features important drive, comfort, and safety system innovations, as well as an avant-garde design, all of which point the way forward for future series- production Mercedes-Benz vehicles that will continue to impressively combine fascination and responsibility.