As cars become increasingly self-driven in the decades ahead, Benz believes there will be no need for front seat passengers to keep their eyes on the road - or forward at all.
So instead, Merc's new concept allows front seat passengers to swivel their seats around to engage in conversation with rear seat passengers. (If they're not wearing ‘virtual reality’ goggles, that is...)
The goggles also serve as eye monitors, as Benz believes passengers of the future will be able to communicate with the vehicle via eye commands.
Interestingly, the goggles can also display the view from outside the car to passengers who wear them but it will be a 360-degree view; which explains why passengers don’t simply look out the window.
Touch commands will still feature, along with advanced versions of the gesture instructions which have already begun to appear in current-day models from various carmakers.
Benz isn’t the first to envisage a ‘lounge style’ interior for future autonomous cars, with Rinspeed unveiling the similar - and all-electric - XchangE concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Rinspeed’s version also featured swivelling front seats, but added a ‘steer-by-wire’ steering column that could be moved out of the way when the ‘driver’ wasn’t steering.
More will be revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas from January 6-9.
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