Smart is looking to add another dimension to its diminutive city car by adding the convenience of autonomous operation as indicated by its latest concept car set for a reveal at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Called the Vision EQ Fortwo, this futuristic 4-wheel pod is part of parent Mercedes-Benz EQ sub-brand which is comprised of EVs. Smart has already committed to selling only EV models in the U.S. as part of the German automaker’s electrification drive.

The concept highlights another Mercedes corporate initiative, CASE, which stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared Electrics. “The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility,” said Annette Winkler, CEO of Smart. “It is the most radical car sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalizable, and of course, electric. We are giving a face to the themes in the vision of future mobility within the CASE strategy.”

A car that finds you

Smart believes that autonomous operation opens up new possibilities in car sharing where users don’t have to look for the next available car. Thanks to swarm intelligence, these self-driving cars will find passengers and collect them from their chosen location. The interconnected vehicles on the road can sense where they are needed, minimizing wait times for the users.

The Smart Vision EQ Fortwo can be summoned using a mobile device and a personalization screen on the front of the car can communicate that the vehicle is intended for whoever summoned it. This black panel grille can also provide other information, warnings or traffic conditions, local events, weather and news. The grille can also indicate whether the car is occupied by one or two passengers.

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The concept is powered by a 30 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that uses inductive recharging. It also can  be used as a power source as part of a “swarm battery” to take pressure off the grid. The design is equally advanced as the sharing concept. Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG’s design chief, said “the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo embodies the urban luxury of the future. It is a radical approach with a cool and minimalistic design.” One of the eye-catching features are the doors, which are hinged over the rear axle and swing upwards to provide easy access to the two-seat cabin.

Inside, the cabin has a large number of digital surfaces that enable passengers to be connected to the web and provide for communication between the user and the vehicle, allowing the riders to personalize the vehicle and adapt it to their needs.

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