Mercedes-Benz reveals Avatar-like concept car at CES

CES is a place where companies have the chance to show off gadgets that may not be ready for the general public or even may never become a full-fledged product. Even Mercedes-Benz is getting in on the action at CES with its new Avatar-like concept car. It’s an all-electric car with scales inspired by the 2009 film Avatar.

Mercedes-Benz’s Avatar-like concept car

The Verge is at CES and shared this video of the Mercedes-Benz Avatar-like concept car:

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The car is called the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, and Avatar director James Cameron helped design it. The rear of the Mercedes-Benz Avatar-like concept car is covered in 33 scales, although the automaker aptly refers to them as “bionic flaps.” It also said the flaps could be used to communicate with anyone who is outside the car.

The car of the future

The concept car also features spherical wheels that the automaker said are inspired by the “seeds of the Tree of Souls” from the film. The wheals can rotate, allowing the car to drive sideways or diagonally instead of just forward and backward.

The interior of Mercedes-Benz’s Avatar-like concept car is somewhat like a blank slate, but it does tell us a few other things about what the company could have in mind for cars of the future. For example, instead of a steering wheel, the driver interacts with the vehicle using an oval controller that comes up and out of the center console.

The controller and the seats of the car can also vibrate with the driver’s heart rate and breathing in a way that Daimler Chairman Ola Kallenius said suggests man and machine could “literally merge.” It might seem a bit strange that a vehicle’s steering mechanism and seats would vibrate with the driver’s breathing and heart rate, but the automaker compares it to the way the Na’vi in the film connect physically with their banshees.

Mercedes-Benz’s Avatar-like concept car can even sense when a family is inside and adapt to that. The automaker didn’t fully explain what types of family features it might offer, although one possible feature would be parents’ ability to monitor their children in the backseat using the screen on the dashboard. Other potential features include a “child-friendly augmented reality experience.”

The car was also designed with a focus on sustainability. It runs on graphene-based organic batteries that aren’t made from rare earth minerals. The battery cells may even be compostable one day. The interior consists of vegan leather and recycled plastic.