Futuristic Mercedes doesn't have a steering wheel

  • The Vision AVTR is a futuristic concept car from Mercedes-Benz
  • The vehicle features no steering wheel, and instead is controlled by an interactive joystick.
  • It was inspired by the alien creatures and vehicles found in James Cameron’s film “Avatar.”
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: This here is the Vision AVTR, Mercedes’ futuristic concept car inspired by the movie “Avatar.” The car replaces multiple basic controls in the pursuit to be more connected to the driver, like switching out the steering wheel and pedals for an interactive joystick-like controller on the centre console. Here’s what it’s like inside the symbiotic concept.

Inside the AVTR, the car comes to life when the driver puts their hand on the central control pad. The device is used by drivers to accelerate, brake, and turn the car. The pad itself vibrates and pulsates like a heartbeat in order to mimic a living, breathing animal. Instead of a dashboard or infotainment screen, the front of the cabin features one giant curved display module that projects real-time footage of the road ahead. You can even choose for it to light up with 3D graphics of Pandora, the fictional world from the 2009 film “Avatar.” In order to access the car’s different features, take your hand off the centre pad, and a menu of controls is projected onto your palm that you can cycle through with gestures.

The car’s body uses Mercedes’ same one-bow design, like many of the automaker’s other concept cars, but features a massive windshield and entirely transparent doors. This is a car you’re gonna want to dress your best for. Its most distinct feature is the 33 bionic flaps on the rear of the car. These flaps move and light up in different colours to indicate when the vehicle is accelerating, braking, or turning.

Despite being a show car, the AVTR is no slouch on the road. The all-electric concept features four motors, one at each wheel, that together make a combined 469 horsepower. Its battery also manages a total driving range of up to 435 miles. The car’s spherical wheels combined with two independently moving axles allow it to crab-walk sideways at a 30-degree angle, both a neat party trick and potentially useful for certain driving situations that require squeezing through some very tight spaces.

The AVTR’s battery cell takes eco-friendly to another level. Unlike modern EV batteries made from toxic metals like lithium and cobalt, this concept’s battery is graphene-based, making it recyclable through composting. The battery also has a high-energy density, making it capable of being fully charged in 15 minutes. It’s good for the environment and convenient for drivers, but still requires a lot of research before this technology is applied to modern cars. And while we don’t expect anything close to this car in the near, or even distant future, some influencers got a chance to test-drive the concept earlier this year for the first time.

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