Mercedes Benz unveils F 500 'Mind' research vehicle in Tokyo

To mark the opening of the 37th Tokyo Motor Show, DaimlerChrysler Board Members Professor Jürgen Hubbert and Dr. Thomas Weber unveiled the new F 500 Mind research vehicle. "This mobile research laboratory gives an insight into how automotive technology is set to look in the future and showcases more than a dozen new technical features," explained Professor Jürgen Hubbert at the press conference held on the Mercedes stand.

"The F 500 Mind is thereby preparing the way for the development of these technologies for use in series production."

With a body length of 5092 millimetres and a wheelbase of 2965 mm, the F 500 Mind offers a significant gain in legroom in the rear compared with present-day saloons. This was made possible by using new electronic accelerator and brake pedals, which take up far less space than their conventional mechanical equivalents.

The multivision display in the cockpit of the F 500 Mind forms the centrepiece of an innovative instrumentation and control system which offers the driver more flexible communication of information and at the same time reduces fatigue. The dials and displays in the instrument cluster are programmable and their images can be optically superposed or combined by means of a semitransparent mirror. An advanced voice-operated control system and an ultrasound-based driver information system take ease of operation to even greater heights. The ultrasonic technology directs the sound at the driver so that only he or she can hear the information from the navigation system, the traffic news and other sound-based information sources, while the front passenger and rear passengers remain undisturbed.

In the dark or when visibility is poor, the innovative night vision system projects its images onto the right-hand monitor of the multivision display. The Night Vision system consists of two infrared laser headlamps on the front of the vehicle which "illuminate" the road ahead with their invisible light for a distance of up to 150 metres, plus a camera on the windscreen. This allows the driver to spot hazards much earlier than in a vehicle operating with conventional dipped headlamps, meaning that Night Vision offers yet more scope for making night driving safer.

The drive system in the research vehicle is a state-of-the-art diesel hybrid unit with a total power output of 234 kW. Over the European driving cycle it uses up to 20 per cent less fuel than a comparable direct-injection diesel engine.

Text/photos - DaimlerChrysler