We first saw the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR at CES 2020 early this year. Without a doubt, the Vision AVTR was inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar movie, but the AVTR stands for ‘Advanced Vehicle Transformation,’ and it comes with a host of gloriously hi-tech details complete with shape-shifting rear flaps and cutting-edge AI.
“The world of Avatar is a cosmos full of new shapes and colors, and such inspirations are inherently inspiring for designers,” said Gordon Wagener, Chief Design Officer of the Daimler Group. “Just think of all the extraordinary environments, life forms, and also the culture of the indigenous Na’vi inhabitants in the world of Pandora; everything is closely related to our design philosophy and the bipolarity of our brands of intelligence and emotion.”
Editor-in-chief Vincent Nguyen had a chance to try out the Vision AVTR’s interactive user interface at CES, but he didn’t get to drive it. But in a recent video, Mercedes-Benz is showcasing a working prototype of the Vision AVTR. Hosted by Danish TV host and car enthusiast Felix Smith, the video gives a deeper insight into the inspiration behind the vehicle’s out-of-this-world design.
And yes, the car can literally ‘crab’ or move sideways for easier maneuverability. Similar to the concept at CES, the Vision AVTR is devoid of a conventional steering wheel. Instead, it has a pulsating center console that functions like a trackball mouse. The AI interface instantly recognizes the driver’s breathing pattern upon placing your hand on the console, and this action wakes up the all-electric drivetrain and vehicle systems.
Granted, we’ve all seen vehicles with funky looking steering devices, but the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR takes it a step further. If you lift your hand from the console, the system projects the infotainment menus on the face of your palm. The vehicle also has a large curved display while rear passengers have an augmented reality ‘Magic Pool’ display.
At the moment, the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR has four electric motors and an eco-friendly and fully-recyclable graphene battery pack, good for an output of 470-horsepower and 435 miles (700 km) of range. Meanwhile, the interior is shod in vegan DINAMICA leather (derived from used clothing and PET plastic bottles) and ecological rattan wood flooring.