Autonomous cars represent a future in which cars will be able to drive to your desired destination with little input beyond entering an address into the GPS system. Since drivers and the cars’ occupants will be freed from the tedious task of actually piloting their vehicles, the interiors of autonomous cars have the potential to look very different from those of today. Mercedes-Benz has just revealed its vision of the “interior of the future” at the TecDay “Autonomous Mobility” event in Sunnyvale, California.

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When autonomous cars arrive, riding in a car will be more pleasurable than today. The car of the future will be will be more than purely a means of transport – rather, it will become a variable and private area of retreat in increasingly dense urban traffic. Mercedes has revealed a virtual interior concept of the interior of an autonomous car, which it describes as a “private area of retreat.”

Related: Mercedes’ Self-Driving Future Truck Completes its First Autonomous Test

Instead of the traditional forward-facing seats in today’s cars, the virtual interior has a variable seating setup that consists of four lounge chairs that can face each other. Since the autonomous car is safely driving itself, the passengers in the car can face each other.

“We are convinced that autonomous driving will be a central factor on the way to comfortable, accident-free driving,” says Professor Dr Herbert Kohler, Head of Corporate Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer for Daimler AG. “Autonomous driving relieves pressure and stress in driving situations usually regarded as tedious – for example, in tailbacks, in inner-city areas or on long journeys. At the same time, it opens up new ways in which people can make the best use of their time on the road.”

Mercedes-Benz also says that its new interior becomes a “digital living space” where passengers are able to interact intuitively with the vehicle by means of gestures or touch displays. The system automatically recognizes the wishes of individual occupants for information or the selection of control functions by sensor detection of eye, hand and finger movements.

“Visions are necessary to drive the social discourse on mobility and the design of the urban environment ahead,” says Kohler. “With our innovative interior concept of a luxury lounge for an autonomous vehicle of the future, we are giving a specific outlook on our ideas of future mobility.”

+ Mercedes-Benz