Mercedes-Benz self driving car communicates via LEDs

January 09, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a prototype automatic driving car at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas which features an innovative use of LED technologies for signaling and indicator applications.

The four-seat fuel-cell hybrid F 015 Luxury in Motion represents Mercedes-Benz's concept of how car design will adapt to a rapidly changing world.

"Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society," explained head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche. "The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.

On the self-driving front, there are LED displays on the front and rear of the model, as well as a laser projection system on the front, which allows the car to sense traffic and other obstacles around it. Sounds and spoken instructions are also used to add an extra layer of acoustic safety.

Large LED light modules on the front and back of the car will indicate which mode the vehicles is operating in, with white lights indicating manual driving and a blue lighting for when the car is under autonomous control.  The LEDs will not only change colors to indicate whether the car is in automatic driving mode but also inform pedestrians when  it is safe to cross the road.

With all-round monitoring by stereoscopic cameras, the car knows where it is and the LED grilles ‘communicate’ with other road users and pedestrians indicating that the F 015 is aware of their presence and even indicating to pedestrians when it is safe to cross in front of the vehicle. As an autonomous car, it can drive itself off to park and be summoned again with a mobile phone or even a smart watch.

Inside the vehicle the chairs are designed to swivel round so that the passengers are facing each other to create a kind of 'living space on wheels'. Six  hi-res display screens – controlled with eye-tracking and gesture recognition – are integrated throughout the interior, offering connectivity and entertainment.

The prototype features a 120Kw fuel cell, a 29 kWh