The F125 (so named because Mercedes is 125 years old this year) is a riotous celebration of the latest display technologies. Not content with connecting the car to the cloud, meaning that you can either send or grab your personal content on the move, Mercedes has gone wild by cramming in not just a gesture controlled display for the passengers, but a back-projected centre console and (of greatest interest) a 3D display with eye-reading technology where you’d normally find the speedo, rev counter and gauges.
By the time we made it to the car, late in the afternoon, on the first press day the gesturally-controlled display had decided that it, erm, needed a rest. Which is a shame, because the implementation seemed pretty smart: the F125 is a contemporary take on a limo (it’s over 5 meters long) and the rear seat passenger sits stretched out, and takes gestural control of the car’s infotainment via a large flat screen mounted on the dashboard, in front of where the passenger seat (which folds flat) is.
The centre stack, where the controls for the radio, climate and so on live, has become a giant back-projected display screen, controlled by a touch-pad in the centre armrest. But the bit of technology that caught our eye (and actually worked best) was the 3D gauge display.
Using the latest eye-sensing technology to detect where the driver’s eyes are positioned, the display is adjusted in order to make sure that no matter how tall or short you are, you’ll still see this display in 3D.
We particularly liked the grouping of the secondary information for things like the radio and weather, on the right of the display. You toggle through these via a tiny touch knob in the same way you scroll on a BlackBerry. Best of all though is the projection and rendering of the car in the centre of the screen - almost photoreal in its quality. Again, you don’t get the 3D effect on video, but in reality it really works; we were particularly impressed with how (thanks to those eye tracers) the 3D effect stays true, even if you jerk your head around.
Sadly, no word from Mercedes on when we’ll be seeing any of this stuff in its road cars, but given it’s the world leader in limousines and luxury saloons, and that it was the first company to introduce things like head-up displays, radar-guided cruise control and night vision, we wouldn’t expect to wait too long before this stuff hits the road.