Home Automotive Mercedes built a concept car for Avatar, and we drove it

Mercedes built a concept car for Avatar, and we drove it

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Mercedes AVTR concept seen through foliage
Expanding / Many concepts are static models, but Mercedes-Benz built something that works. at low speed anyway.


When you think about the future of transportation, you probably don’t think of the water dragon in James Cameron’s latest Avatar movie. Avatar: Path of Water, will be released on December 16th. You might think of something along the lines of his Mercedes-AVTR, which Mercedes debuted just before the pandemic. CES 2020.

A collaboration between the producer and director of the latest Avatar movie and a car company might seem improbable. After all, there are no cars in the movie and no Vision AVTR on screen. Still, after spending an afternoon driving this otherworldly concept and looking behind the scenes at the new film, it makes a lot of sense.

Lightstorm Entertainment COO and Academy Award-winning producer Jon Landau said: Avatarsaid during a video conference at an event in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

“We believe these films are about something. To understand how our actions affect the people around us and the world around us. They challenged us to look at our world a little differently and we were looking for a partner who shared the same type of spirit.Mercedes has a vision of a truly sustainable future. I think there are,” Landau told Ars.

AVTR's interior design is reflected in the production of recent Mercedes EVs such as the EQS and EQE.
Expanding / AVTR’s interior design is reflected in the production of recent Mercedes EVs such as the EQS and EQE.


Sustainable luxury remains a Mercedes buzzword. Mercedes-Benz EQS With designers and engineers working on both in parallel, it’s easy to see the thru-line between the AVTR and the Mercedes EQ line. After all, the joint project between Cameron’s Avatar movie franchise and Mercedes has not only provided the German luxury brand with a wealth of inspiration and future design directions, but also some that have already been implemented in real cars. I have.

A new design for the human-car interface

As a result of COVID, Avatar With the sequel postponed, Mercedes had time to consider rolling concepts. The company has created a life-size model of his back in the cockpit, integrating everything from controlling his gestures to using machine vision to explore some of the features of the future that will extend the human in the cockpit to the outside world. I showed off.

AVTR cockpit back.
Expanding / AVTR cockpit back.

Abigail Bassett

if you know anything about Avatar, Pandora’s Na’vi know that they are connected via braids to a dragon they ride called Banshee. connect through The money we sat down to learn about the AVTR’s joystick-like steering (more on that later) didn’t have the sensors needed for biometric feedback, but engineers could simulate heartbeats and machine vision. I was designing it to see humans using . in the seat.

When you approach the car, it “wakes up” and appears to breathe with you. It looks like it’s beating or beating. As a Mercedes spokesperson puts it, it gives the machine a lifelike effect, making it feel more like a living, breathing thing than a vehicle. , turning, acceleration, etc.) and modular fluid wings to reduce wind drag, flutter and move.

The scale can be backlit.
Expanding / The scale can be backlit.


These scales and their movements were designed in collaboration with the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, which specializes in carbon fiber and organic robotics. Apparently, when Mercedes engineers started working on the tiny actuator that moves the scale, the motion was too robotic for the designers, so they brought in college. Seeing the scales flutter and move gives his AVTR a completely organic feeling, as if he were approaching an animal rather than a machine.

Get in the car, wave your hand over the interface, which looks like the only control on the center console, and the car will start. The controls look like a stack of breathing stones, and Mercedes calls it Merge Control. It acts as a car joystick (no steering wheel) and is based on current adaptive technology that allows people with disabilities to drive a car in the real world.

The full-width screen is reminiscent of what Mercedes used in its EQXX concept, but more otherworldly.
Expanding / The full-width screen is reminiscent of what Mercedes used in its EQXX concept, but more otherworldly.


When the car is turned on and ready to drive, screens that stretch like cloth across the front and center of the vehicle light up. It’s a concept created in close partnership with the producers of the Avatar movies, so the scenes on that screen are those of Pandora, and driving an AVTR is like flying through a video game. The experience is immersive and features audio targeted to both sides of the vehicle, helping occupants feel more connected to the outside world.

Of course, no concept vehicle would be complete without adding gesture controls, as there are no buttons anywhere. When you raise the inner hand, the image is projected on the palm. Move your palm left or right to see other available icons. Make a fist to grab an icon to select an option. In the back, just opening or closing your hand changed the flying scenery. This may seem like a simple projection technology, but Mercedes uses the machine’s vision to map thousands of different hand colors, shapes, orientations and sizes so that the features work consistently. He said he confirmed that

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