VIDEO: Mercedes’ Avatar-inspired concept drives without steering wheel

  • Mercedes-Benz released driving footage of its futuristic “Vision AVTR” concept car on Saturday. 
  • Mercedes got its inspiration for the car from the film “Avatar” and aimed to develop a “completely new interaction between human, machine and nature.” 
  • The car has no steering wheel and can “crab walk” diagonally.
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Back in January, before the pandemic canceled auto shows and forced new-car reveals to go virtual, Mercedes-Benz showed off a bizarre, futuristic concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now, there’s some footage of the car actually driving. 

The concept is called the Vision AVTR, and Mercedes debuted the otherworldly car in partnership with the “Avatar” films. The idea behind the vehicle, Mercedes said, was to create a “completely new interaction between human, machine and nature.” 

Instead of a steering wheel, the concept sports a “multifunctional control element” on the center tunnel that drivers operate with one hand. “By placing the hand on the control unit, the interior comes to life and the vehicle recognizes the driver by [their] heartbeat and breathing,” Mercedes said. 

Mercedes aimed to give the Vision AVTR a more organic design than vehicles on the road today, and included 33 “bionic flaps” on the car’s rear that look like reptile scales. 

Although a vehicle allowing “human and machine to merge,” as Mercedes describes it, is probably a long way away, the Vision AVTR has some interesting powertrain elements that could possibly make their way into production vehicles. For instance, the concept boasts four-wheel steering that allows it to drive diagonally in a “crab walk” — something that’ll also be available on the new GMC Hummer EV. 

See the Vision AVTR in action below:


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