06.02.16 - The Jetsons

Mercedes-Benz and the Future

In Mercedes by Nathan Ehinger

When I was a kid I enjoyed the Jetsons cartoon. It was funny, entertaining and futuristic. It seemed like a world that I would love to live in but one that was certainly forever off from the time we were in when it was most popular. If you look around you today, we are headed in the direction of a Jetsons cartoon even though the idea of flying cars and robot maids still seems far-fetched we have already moved toward moving sidewalks , especially at airports, and other automations we enjoyed seeing in the cartoon with the goofy futuristic family.

Looking at Mercedes-Benz the future of design is one that is extremely different from what we see today. They, along with other manufacturers, are already addressing the question of what to do when vehicles are autonomously driven and only have an electrified powertrain. Think about the possibilities when you don’t need the powertrain and steering components that take up space in the engine bay. This will leave room for the passenger area to be much larger and even be set up as a conversation area that makes for a great place for you to be able to enjoy the company of another person.

While this futuristic approach to vehicles is still years away, maybe even a few decades away, Mercedes-Benz is addressing some of the design features they feel need to be dealt with. First of all, with their SUV lineup they fully expect to continue to build more of the unexpected coupe style SUVs as the GLC Coupe has already received the praise they wanted. Does this mean we will see a raked version of the GL or a two door military grade G-Wagen that will have the wheelbase to rival the Jeep Wrangler? Those are both real possibilities and under consideration at Mercedes-Benz and we may see them on the market soon.

Another issue facing Mercedes-Benz is the similarity of all their sedan and coupes. Just like BMW, it’s hard to tell the difference between two Mercedes-Benz models unless you have them side by size and see which one is larger. This does breed some contempt because customers who pay this top dollar for their vehicles want something unique that stands out in the crowd. Looking at some of our domestic lineups will help Mercedes-Benz see what they can do to create differentiation among the models and offer a simpler style that will attract a larger audience.

Even though we feel we are still light years away from being in the Jetsons cartoon, the speed at which technology is being developed and included in the automotive market makes it possible that we will see some serious changes in only a few years. Autonomous vehicles are quickly being developed and the discussions are already in place as to what the infrastructure needs to be to support these vehicles and those that are driven purely by electricity. Once we have these problems solved it will be time to see what automakers can do to take their vehicles to the air, but let’s tackle one challenge at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.