Vehicle Technology

Daimler Presents an Avatar-Inspired Concept Car at CES® 2020

Overview Daimler presented a CES 2020 keynote that envisioned a new interaction among humans, technology and nature with the help of “Avatar” director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau.

“When you come to CES, the question you ask yourself is ‘What’s next?’” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes Benz Cars.

“Tech and auto have merged in the past few years, and as we look into the future, the big thing is to make individual mobility sustainable.”

Källenius referenced the movie Back to the Future, which imagined that we would be traveling by flying cars by 2020. Though air taxis exist, they are far from standard transportation, but Källenius highlighted another transportation technology that has made progress and still continues to show potential: connectivity.

“We’re focusing on the bond between human and machine,” he said.

We believe the interface is the key to providing the customer seamless access without being lost in complexity, The more natural the connection gets, the better. People build highly emotional relationship with their cars.

Ola Källenius
Chariman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes Benz Cars.

The Human to Car to Nature Connection

Cars have evolved to be able to tell you the status of your favorite sports team and the game they are playing, inform you of the weather at your destination as you travel, and soon even enable you to control your smart home from the road.

The next step, Källenius said, is the first truly intuitive gesture control. Without us learning new gestures or signs, cars will be able to understand what drivers and passengers are looking for, and biometric data will further merge man and machine to create a better transportation experience.

“We believe the interface is the key to providing the customer seamless access without being lost in complexity,” he said. “The more natural the connection gets, the better. People build highly emotional relationship with their cars.”

Källenius has a vision for the future of sustainable, modern luxury vehicles, keeping in mind decreasing natural resources.

“We understand the boundaries of our planet, but we don’t want to add new boundaries to mobility. In other words, fewer cars are not the solution, better cars are,” he said.

The solution, he said, is decoupling volume growth from resource consumption through sustainable innovation and technology. By 2039, Mercedes-Benz aims to achieve carbon neutral vehicle production, having a complete carbon-neutral passenger car fleet.

Its car production plants are also set to reduce their total water consumption per vehicle by more than a third and their energy consumption per vehicle by more than 40%. By the end of 2022, all Mercedes Benz plants in Europe will be carbon neutral.

“The key of reduce, reuse and recycle will lead us to our ultimate goal of the zero-impact car,” Källenius said.


Mercedes-Benz presented its vision of zero-impact cars, through a partnership with Avatar films, with the VISION AVTR concept car.

The concept car, unveiled during the Daimler Keynote, uses revolutionary battery technology developed with graphene-based organic cell chemistry, free of rare earths and metals. The materials of the battery are compostable and therefore completely recyclable.

“When I look at this vehicle, I see the future,” said Academy-Award winning director James Cameron. “It’s an aspirational future. Are we going to be takers, or caretakers? Are we going to turn our backs on mother nature?”

A new user interface enables unprecedented user-car communication. The interior of the VISION AVTR transforms into an immersive space, with a menu selection that projects into the passenger’s palm to allow them to choose between different functionalities. With simply a hand on a controller, the driver can interact with the car and have it react to slight movements and biometric changes.

In contrast to conventional vehicle movements, the VISION AVTR can also move diagonally at a 30 degree angle, opening up new agility options.

“The people who drive this car are going to feel that connection with the world around them, and it’s going to change how they look at the world when they get out of the car,” said Avatar producer Jon Landau.

Though the VISION AVTR is just a concept car now, Källenius notes that it is here to spark our imagination. It will hopefully spur new innovations to build more sustainable mobility.

Watch the full Daimler Keynote from CES 2020.

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