Mercedes Hinting New Technology For S-Class
It isn’t much of a secret that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a marvel of engineering and technology that continually sets the benchmark for the cars of the future to aim for. From the first turbocharged diesel engine, the first airbag, and the first car to be available with anti-lock brakes, all the way up to the new “Magic Body Control” system, the S-Class always has the latest and greatest gear available. With a new S-Class due in less than three years, the big question is what changes are coming to keep this incredible machine in the spotlight.
Recently Auto Express sat down with Jan Kaul, the head of interior design at Mercedes to discuss the upcoming S-Class. The amount of information they gathered is pretty staggering considering the general level of secrecy that surrounds a new model like the S-Class. From the possibility of using 3D printing for interior structures to the use of gestures to control interior functions there is a lot of cool technology coming to the next S-Class.
Click past the jump to read about the Mercedes S-Class
What is Coming
The current big innovations that are in the process of being tested are gesture controls, 3D printing for trim, one-piece seats and one-piece air vents. Gesture control is one of the big things that Kaul is looking into, but thankfully he understands that gestures shouldn’t be used for all function. He stated, “…if you are inputting a destination to the navigation, this is easier with voice recognition or a menu than gestures. But it is something we are continuing to work on, and you will see it soon”. If the gestures system uses cameras, we may soon be able to activate functions like window operation with just the wave of our hands.
Other details like the single-piece seats and air vents are being researched to help cut weight and complexity in the interior. The only real obstacle stopping the seats from reaching the production stage is the durability of some of the materials in their creation. Kaul stated, “these are coming very soon. The [one piece] seats are difficult because we must make the stitching and leather last the life of the car, but our designers are working very hard”. Despite being so slim, Kaul assured Auto Express that the many luxury functions like heating, ventilation, power adjustment and massage will still be retained.
When it comes to the idea of using 3D printing for things like the single-piece air vents, Kaul says it all comes down to margins. Can they make these parts with 3D printing quickly enough with proper Mercedes quality without costing a fortune?
While not all of these technologies may actually make it into the next S-Class, it is exciting to see that Mercedes is actively looking at new and interesting ways to push the envelope of luxury and design.
The S-Class is the largest and most luxurious sedan that is currently produced by Mercedes-Benz. It is now into its sixth generation, with every single generation offering both standard and limosine style long-wheelbase version. The current S-Class is available in the US in four model trims with horsepower ranging from 449 horsepower in the base-level S550 up to 621 horsepower in the top-trim S65 AMG.
Source: Auto Express