Mercedes Is Driving The Future Through San Francisco

And the future looks a little like an eel.

As the company that invented the modern car, Mercedes has always held an interest in pushing automotive technology forward. In their production cars, that means stuffing the S-Class with multiple radar systems, infra-red cameras and active suspension; in their concept cars, that means all that technology wrapped in wild, wild design. Denizens of San Francisco got to see a striking example of the latter when Mercedes drove its F015 Concept around the city while shooting a commercial. While the F015 is notable both for its radical shape and its autonomous capabilities, there was a human at the helm for this go-around. 

Mercedes has a history of future-oriented commercials, but the fact that they’re filming another so quickly (one was released in January) signals a ramping up of their autonomous car campaign. As engineers pointed out at last year’s reveal of the newest S-Class, the major thing hindering the advance of autonomous cars is legislation, not technology—the standard S550, as it stands, can basically drive itself on the highway. That being said, it seems Mercedes’ outing in the F015 is more than just a photo-shoot—it’s an appeal to consumers. Let us paraphrase what Mercedes is saying: “The technology exists, is incredibly cool, and might even lower traffic deaths.”

Let us try again: “Call your senator.”