Remember when the movie 'Avatar' came out in 2009? While some might have mistaken it as a movie adaptation of a certain animated series from Nickelodeon, it was actually an epic sci-fi flick that proved to be a blockbuster hit as it garnered a total of $2.789 billion at the box office. The only movie that was able to top James Cameron's work was 2019's Avengers: Endgame which collected a total of $2.798 billion, but I digress.
After more than a decade since the film came out, an all-new concept vehicle recently made its debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2020) that takes inspiration from the movie itself. Say hello to the Mercedes-Benz AVTR Concept, an all-electric vehicle that looks radical and high-tech. Made in close collaboration with the Avatar movie team, the Advanced Vehicle Transformation concept features the automaker's vision for future design, mobility, and technologies.
Beginning with the exterior, the concept features a sleek and low-slung body that is accompanied by muscular curves, wide wheels and tires, and acres of glass that allow natural light to flood the cabin. With its unique exterior, the AVTR looks unlike anything Mercedes-Benz has ever designed, concept or production.
But perhaps one of the quirkiest exterior features present on the AVTR are the 33 multi-functional flaps on the rear of the concept. While they may just be for show, the automaker claims that the 'bionic' flaps are reminiscent of a reptile's scales and that they aid in delivering better aerodynamics as they constantly adjust themselves.
Inside, the cabin of the AVTR concept is devoid of any physical buttons or controls. There's also no steering wheel for the driver to manipulate the vehicle. Instead, Mercedes-Benz made use of a unique biometric connection system which allows human and machine to merge. By placing the hand on the center control unit, the system recognizes the user's heartbeat and breathing, bringing to life the AVTR's interior.
After the user is done placing their hand on the system, they can now select from a menu that is projected on the palm of their hand. This allows them to easily select between different functions, as well as use 3D real-time graphics to view the world of Pandora right inside the cabin via a curved display. In keeping with the sustainability aspect of future Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the AVTR's seats are upholstered in 'vegan' Dinamica leather. The floor, meanwhile, is decorated in Karuun wood (also called Rattan) which gives the cabin a warm and natural look and feel.
Mercedes-Benz did not go into detail as to how the electric powertrain works. However, they did say that the AVTR produces an impressive 470 PS, along with an estimated cruising range of 700 km. Aside from its powerful electric propulsion system, the AVTR can also move sideways by about 30 degrees. This gives the AVTR the ability to have 'crab-like' movements for better maneuverability.
As for the battery pack, the concept uses recyclable materials based on graphene-based organic cell chemistry. This makes them free from rare earth metals and materials, allowing electric mobility to be free from fossil-based fuels.
With the AVTR concept focusing on integrating man and machine with the natural world, perhaps this is just one of the many bold steps that Mercedes-Benz wants to imbue their future vehicles. Here's to hoping that all Mercedes-Benz vehicles will have these type of technologies and features in the not so distant future.