How do companies like Mercedes cook up in-car innovations that gadget hounds oooh and aaah over? They build a fleet of tricked-out testbed motors, then take their prototype technologies for a spin, of course! These secretive cars don’t usually see the light of day, but take a look at the Mercedes F500 mind, just one of those rolling laboratories, on display at the North American International Auto Show this week.
You might expect a prototype car to be covered in wires, unfinished features and bits of masking tape, but the F500 Mind is the exact opposite of a traditional work-in-progress car. It’s sleek, futuristic and put together with surprising fit and finish.
OK, so there are signs that this is very much a working vehicle: Door seals that’re cracked and worn. Dust under the now unused door handles. Scuff marks on its windows. But the fact remains, this is a Mercedes used to develop all sort of next-gen tech, usually in absolute secrecy. It was the vehicle used to cook up Night View Assist technology, before it debuted in the Mercedes S-Class in 2005.
Inside there are instrument panels to record data during journeys, cameras to record the action, and in place of the front passenger seat, a huge computer display.
Trim details are all futuristic too. It’s clear Mercedes has used the F500 Mind to trial some innovative in-car switches and buttons. Even the accelerator and brake seemed to be pressure-sensitive panels, rather than traditional pedals.
Take a look at the video above, and you’ll see the Mercedes F500 Mind in all its glory, and tell us, which bit of its design would you love transplanted into your current motor?