► Smart Vision EQ ForTwo
► Fully autonomous ride-sharer
► We'll see concept at Frankfurt
Say hello to Smart’s idea of how personal mobility is going to look in 2030: the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept.
You’re not going to own this car. You’re not going to drive it. But you’ll interact with it while you zoom from A to B in it with your similarly enlightened friends. In short, this is going to be your personal butler, and you’re going to feel inadequate while you bask in its cleverness.
The major takeaway from this concept is that Smart believes that its development of personal mobility centres on Level 5 autonomy (no wheel, no pedals), full electrification, and detailed swarm communication between cars.
It relies on changes in infrastructure that will open up our city centres to new ‘blue car lanes’, areas where vehicles and people share space, and a very good wi-fi signal.
It’s part of what Smart calls its CASE corporate strategy – (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). It won’t be so novel by 2030, though, as parent company Daimler has confirmed that it will have introduced more than 10 new electric Smarts and Mercedes-Benz models by 2022.
Get used to not owning ‘your’ car
Smart doesn’t see this as a car you’re going to own but pay as you ride instead. You’ll still have the opportunity to personalise it via a grille-shaped screen (105x40cm in size) on the front, which will display your name, avatar or anything else that identifies you. You’ll be able to choose the seating and lighting configurations – and there’s enough of them to make it unique to you.
LED displays in place of the headlamps can echo a classic look (from sporting to neutral) or take on an eye-like shape, which allows the vehicle to communicate on a more human level.
It’s been designed to work in the city – it will park itself while you shop, will collect your kids from school, and will actively car share using peer-to-peer technology.
Use your car to make new friends and judge people
If you want to, you can also use the 1+1 car-sharing function to make new friends. You can make contact with other interesting users, and accept or reject them on the basis of their saved profiles and current travel plans.
When you hail one, it’ll appear by your side personalised to you, and will be fully charged and ready to go, on account of being able to find one of the many expected induction-charging bays, and top itself up seamlessly.
And once on your way, you can use the 24-inch dashboard screen to catch up on the news, or watch your social media updates roll in.
If a smartphone and a ForTwo crossbred…
Move beyond the social media guff, and there’s a very clever car underneath. The one-box styling makes great use of not needing to package an engine. The doors save space by pivoting over the rear axle, making access easier, and avoiding swinging out into the roadside.
It doesn’t look painted, feeling more like a smartphone with wheels due to reinforced metallic surfaces, dark-tinted glass and concealed LED display technology. The side windows double as digital displays to be used like giant monitors, for instance.
Inside, there’s acres of room and a concealed centre armrest. If you like the new friends you’re giving lifts to, drop the divider and snuggle up. There are also additional displays dotted around to display smaller, more personal, messages.
So, is this the new JohnnyCab or something more serious?
‘The Smart Vision EQ For Two is our vision of future urban mobility,’ says smart CEO Annette Winkler. ‘An uncompromising city car.’
It’s a stargazing exercise for the company, as so much hangs on infrastructure being in place – and cities having the money to implement it. But the company’s futurologists see this as possible, with enough future planning. We'll have to wait and see if that future planning comes to fruition.
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