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LASER-GUIDED MERCEDES

| 19/04/2013 | 0 Comments

Mercedes will be showing a compact premium-class SUV at the Shanghai Auto Show in the form of its Concept GLA.

The Concept GLA combines dynamic styling with clear benefits for recreational use. Under the bonnet of this new concept vehicle (length/width/height: 4383/1978/1579 millimetres) sits a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine rated at 155 kW (211 hp) with a displacement of 1991 cc. Its power is transmitted to the road via the  7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

The 20-inch wheels, with their distinctive five-spoke turbine design, are shod in size 255/45 R 20 tyres. These have been specifically created for the Concept GLA: their tread pattern continues the lines of the spokes in an optical illusion that makes the latter appear longer.

The interior reflects a clear alignment with the interiors of the other new compact Mercedes models. It is dominated by an exciting juxtaposition of leather and dark galvanised aluminium. The four individual seats and the door centre panels are upholstered in natural leather.

A rectangle of lighting strip inset into the load compartment floor serves to highlight its level surface. Luggage can be secured firmly with a spring-loaded four-point harness, as used in helicopters. A simple handle is used to fold the backrests of the rear sports seats forward to create a level load compartment floor.

The instrument panel is constructed in several layers. This unit is protected from dust and dirt by a plexiglas covering that is illuminated from behind, so adding to the impression that the different levels are free-floating. The control buttons for COMAND Online are made of plexiglas and painted from the back in black.

The air vents change colour according to the interior temperature set by the occupants. At a medium temperature of 22 degrees Celsius they light up in white. If a cooler temperature is selected for the interior, they turn blue, while opting for an influx of warm air switches the illumination to red.

The front headlamps of the Concept GLA are each fitted with a laser-beam projector. These not only provide the light to drive by, but are also capable of projecting pictures or films onto a screen or other surface. Any format that can be operated through COMAND Online can serve as a source: pictures or films from a smartphone, internet, or from a hard drive.

Alternatively, the action can be produced live. The Concept GLA is fitted with two cameras, housed in the front roof rail. And these can be used for far more than just 3D images taken as the Concept GLA drives along: the HD cameras can be removed and, for example, fitted to a mountain bike helmet. An additional lamp unit in each camera ensures that the lighting is right, whatever the situation. As an alternative to the projection option, films may also be viewed inside the car on the COMAND Online screen.

The laser-beam projectors as a further enhancement of the head-up display could also help to improve road safety: the technology could be used, for example, to project the directional instructions from the navigation system onto the road in the form of arrows – in this way other road users, too, would be able to see where a driver is heading.

It is not only the laser-beam projectors and their visible cooling system provided by rotating vents that make the shimmering blue headlamps of the Concept GLA such an interesting feature. With the “Coming home” function, the blue light begins to pulsate to indicate that the vehicle is ready and waiting for its driver.

While the driving lights are produced here for the first time by a laser beam reflected off a mirror lens, the daytime running lamps, with their characteristic “torch” effect, as well as the indicator lights, consist of LEDs.

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