Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Vision AVTR concept at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The radical-looking is not just inspired by James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster, Avatar, it has been designed in collaboration with those behind the film, and the result is a vehicle aiming to show what mobility in the distant future might well look like.

With its stretched “One Bow” design and organic design language, the AVTR has a general shape reminiscent of the F 015 study from half a decade ago, but that’s about the only commonality. Flowing and fluid, this one takes its design cues from several creatures in the movie, combining inside and outside into a distinctive, emotional structure.

Design elements include 33 “bionic flaps” on the back of the vehicle, which the company says is reminiscent of scales of reptiles. These can communicate with the driver, and through the driver with their outside world, through naturally flowing movements in subtle gestures.

The all-electric Vision AVTR is equipped with four individually-controlled, high-performance electric motors, with a combined engine power of more than 350 kW. These motors feature fully variable torque distribution, meaning that each wheel can be driven separately and depending on the driving situation.

This, the company says, makes it possible to drive the front and rear axles simultaneously or in opposite ways, giving the car the novelty of being able to move sideways by approximately 30 degrees, essentially in crab-like fashion, which allows the vehicle flexibility of movement in congested traffic or tight spaces.

Power is stored in a high-voltage battery featuring graphene-based organic cell chemistry, which makes the unit rare earth and metal free and 100% recyclable through composting. Despite being anywhere far from production reality, the numbers running off the unit sounds mouth-watering – the 110 kWh capacity unit will provide 700 km of travel range as well as full recharging in less than 15 minutes.

The open cabin contains plenty of thought-provoking concepts, especially in user experience (UX) interface. These include a biometric vehicle start-up process involving placement of the hand on the control unit on the centre console, the car activating itself upon recognising the driver by his or her heartbeat and breathing.

The interface adapts to the user. By simply lifting the hand, a menu selection is projected onto the palm of the hand, through which the passenger can intuitively choose between different functionalities, including sound elements.

Real-time 3D graphics can be used to explore surroundings from different perspectives, with the curved display module creating a visual connection between passengers and the outside world.

Elsewhere, the seats – which are dressed in vegan Dinamica microfibre – make the surroundings around the vehicle experienceable through haptic feedback, courtesy of eight exciters within the unit. Vibrations adapted to the situation transmit information in a non-visual way and make objects noticeable.

The control unit, meanwhile, is a multi-functional interface used to control the AVTR, either by the driver’s or from the passenger seat. It can be raised or lowered by a short tap if necessary, making it only visible when it is needed.

Depending on the mood and vitality of the driver, the car offers driving options beyond autonomous – if the control unit is driven up to half, the driver can influence the speed, while completely lifting the steering provides full control of the vehicle.

Those with families will find the Child Connect function a boon. When the car senses that family travel is involved, it connects the front seats to the rear seats, and serves up monitors can be used to keep tabs on the kids in the rear.

There’s also a “Magic Pool,” a cute way to describe rear seat display screens. Here, they offer the young ones learning-oriented gaming and a child-friendly augmented reality experience of the surroundings to ensure they never get bored while on the road. A lot of imagination then from this one, but one wonders, how much of it will shape up in future reality.