After a lengthy and humour-filled introduction by Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, the Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion piloted itself onto the stage. According to Zetsche, the world is filling up with more and more people, an ever increasing proportion of which live in cities.
Zetsche and Mercedes-Benz believe that in such a world order, cars will become ever more sought after places of refuge, luxury and quiet time, as well as being a mode of transport.
The F015 Luxury in Motion's array of cameras, radar and other sensors allow it to monitor all 360 degrees of its environment and pilot itself. The F015 is said to build on the work of the S500 Intelligent Drive, which the company claims is the first self-driving car to work in urban environments experiencing heavily traffic, and the 2025 Future Truck.
In the flesh, because of the car's flowing one-box shape and its solitary presence on stage, it's almost too easy to forget that it's a big thing.
The F015 sits on a 3.6 metre long wheelbase, and measures 5.22 metres in length, is a smidge over two metres wide and stands a tick over 1.5 metres tall.
Despite its size, the F015 seats just four people in comfort. There are four individual clamshell-style seats, personalisable touchscreen displays in the door trims, and a gesture and eye movement-controlled screen along the dashboard.
Ingress and egress are aided by the rear suicide doors and blank spaces where the B-pillars would normally stand.
LED lighting studs are spread out across the F015's grille and rear bumper. The grille's lights are coloured blue when the car in autonomous driving mode and white when the car is being piloted by a human.
The bumper's LEDs can warn approaching drivers about the location of people standing in front of the car.
According to Mercedes-Benz the car's "concept drivetrain" features a hydrogen fuel cell. A Mercedes-Benz employee told us, though, that the F015 concept actually features a two electric motors with around 80kW of power each, and that these motors are motivated purely by an on-board battery pack.