At L.A. show, Mercedes imagines a shape-changing car that adapt itself at the push of a button
More from Mercedes-Benz on the Silverflow -- one of the standout designs we recently encountered as part of our coverage of the Los Angeles Design Challenge, a conceptual showcase of "blue-sky" designs from eight studios entitled "Robocar 2057" that's currently being held as part of the 2007 L.A. Auto Show. With a brief to explore the possibilities of transport in 50 years time, Mercedes-Benz has presented a vision of a sleek, shape-changing vehicle that could adapt to the users needs in various scenarios, transforming from highway cruiser to compact city car or economical two-seater at the push of a button.
The futuristic Silverflow vision comes from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center of North America in Irvine, California, which is headed by Gorden Wagener. On the surface, the design itself is reminiscent of Grand Prix cars from the 1930s with its drawn out shell and exposed wheels, but the study relies on some thought-provoking "technology of the future" to present its ideas. The shape-changing characteristics would be based on the use of billions of microscopically tiny metallic particles that could be adapted by magnetic fields to form different, yet stable configurations. The potentially limitless variants would be pre-programmed allowing the car to be morphed within a few seconds -- parking would become far easier in a car that can make itself smaller, or even be completely dissembled into a pool of ferromagnetic material, and dents could be self-repaired using such a system.
The designers concede that it will be many decades -- if at all -- before the current two-dimensional graphic could approach reality. "The Los Angeles Design Challenge is certainly a creative challenge with this futuristic concept. The SilverFlow reflects our successful motor sports history, while boldly suggesting innovative solutions for the individual mobility of coming generations" said Professor h.c. Peter Pfeiffer, Senior Vice President Mercedes-Benz Design.