Smart concept unveiled at Frankfurt: the future of car sharing?

A new concept car offers a glimpse of what could be the future of public transport.

The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo is an autonomous electric vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals — the first in the Daimler Group to do away with these features.

Passengers will be able to book a ride via mobile app and will be picked up directly from their chosen location, with glowing panels on the front and side of the vehicle allowing passengers to identify it as their car.

“Thanks to swarm intelligence and the resulting predictability of demand, it will probably already be nearby, making the journey to pick up a ‘hire car’ a thing of the past,” Daimler said.

Solo travellers can choose whether to share their journey in the two-seater car. Possible passengers are suggested on the basis of their saved profiles and current travel plans, and can be accepted or rejected.

The front panel will display whether the car is occupied by one or by two passengers, and will also provide information to other road users (e.g. pedestrians crossing the road).

When not in use, the cars go independently to a charging station to recharge. Alternatively, they can dock with the power grid inductively, feed in electricity and act as a “swarm battery”, taking pressure off the grid.

“The Smart Vision EQ ForTwo is our vision of future urban mobility,” said Smart CEO Annette Winkler. “It is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalisable and, of course, electric.”

The concept vehicle will be on display at the 2017 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

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