YouTube star Alex ‘Supercar Blondie’ Hirschi stepped into the future of motor vehicles when she came face-to-face with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR concept car inspired by James Cameron's Avatar.
Concept cars have a long history in the auto industry, with the goal to both arouse interest in emerging trends and accelerating the development of new technologies to possibly incorporate them in the future.
It’s safe to say that Supercar Blondie was stunned with various aspects of Mercedes-Benz’s take on an Advanced Vehicle Transformation (AVTR) design that actually responds to the “driver.”
The concept even allows the driver to move the wheels in unison, to the point where they’re all facing one direction in order to actually drive sideways.
“This is the crazy bit: this car moves sideways,” she said. “All the wheels will face one direction and kind of creep along like a crab.”
This functionality, along with the “scales” on the back of the car and the bizarre wheels that leave “animal paw” treading, makes the concept feel alive.
“In every single piece of this car, in the way that it moves, the way that it feels, the way that it looks, it is a creature,” Blondie said.
Everything from the tires to the braking process were made to be in tune with the driver’s mood, similar to how the Na'vi tribes of Pandora literally connect to the wildlife around them using the "queues" in their braids.
Much like the film, there is a physical connection between the people and their mode of transportation, and it's no different here.
“So the whole thing about you becoming ‘one with the car,’ you may think ‘Ugh, that’s just a story. Whatever.’ This is why [Mercedes-Benz] says that,” Blondie explained as she sat in a driver's seat lacking a steering wheel. “When you put your hand here on the [car’s middle console], it starts recognizing your heartbeat, and it will actually pulsate with you.”
According to the YouTuber, the car starts to recognize who is in the pilot’s seat and eventually “knows exactly which person is sitting in the driver’s seat."
When initiating the driving mode, the center console actually pops out to give the person a sort of control lever that moves the wheels in the direction that they pivot the station.
Just like Cameron’s 2009 film, the concept is a breathtaking feat of engineering that makes fantasy-like aspects a reality with its incredible use of emerging technologies.