Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

Living Car: Mercedes Unveils Outlandish ‘Avatar’ Concept Vehicle at CES

Compostable, organic batteries, heartbeat recognition, and ‘bionic flaps’ present just some of the Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR’s futuristic tech.

Maybe it’s time we ditch the idea of the flying car. For the longest time, that offered the quintessential vision for the car of the future.

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

But at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Mercedes-Benz offered up a new vision: a semi-living car. Based on the bio-mechanical vision brought to the big screen in “Avatar,” the VISION AVTR presents Mercedes’ concept of “mobility in the distant future.”

OK, so this is probably a long way off (to say the least). But the VISION AVTR offers up a refreshing, swing-for-the-fences take on the boring old concept vehicle. After all, why dream up weirdo cybertrucks when you can imagine a car that has reptile scales and can “crab walk”?!

Mercedes VISION AVTR CES Concept Car

Again, this is a concept of a concept of a far-off maybe. But Mercedes is the eighth-largest brand in the world. So it isn’t just shooting in the dark with the VISION AVTR.

According to the descriptions and specs, this biometric vehicle could offer a glimpse of, if not move the needle on, the future of automotive technology. For the concept, Mercedes tapped engineers, designers, mobility researchers, and, given its tie to Avatar, entertainment industry brands.

Here’s what we know about the VISION AVTR from Mercedes.

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

Design: Interior & Exterior

Inspired by creatures from “Avatar,” the VISION AVTR sports a “stretched One Bow design.” According to Mercedes, the translucent-doored vehicle incorporates an “inside-out design structure” that blends the exterior and interior into “an emotional whole.”


Biometric Connection

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

Instead of a conventional steering wheel, the VISION AVTR uses a “multifunctional control element” in the center console. This, Mercedes says, “allows human and machine to merge.”

And there’s no key or fob, either. To activate this Benz, the driver (aka the car’s emotional support cargo) simply places their hand on the control unit, and the vehicle comes to life once it’s recognized the driver by their heartbeat and breathing.

Immersive Experience Space

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

The VISION AVTR also says goodbye to the digital menu screen most car companies brag about. Instead, a menu selection projects onto the palm of the hand. Here, passengers can choose between different functionalities. For example, Mercedes said users could explore real-time 3D graphics of the fictional “Avatar” world, Pandora.

And along the dash, a curved display module creates the visual connection between passengers and the outside world.

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

Sustainability & Drive

Power for the emission-free VISION AVTR comes from organic battery technology made of recyclable materials. For the first time, the VISION AVTR concept vehicle is using a revolutionary battery technology based on a graphene-based organic cell chemistry that is completely free of rare earth minerals and metals.

The materials of this hypothetical battery are compostable and therefore completely recyclable. In this way, electric mobility becomes independent of fossil resources.

The Vehicle as a Living Creature

Mercedes VISION AVTR concept car CES

Things get really trippy when heading to the rear of this car. Along the back, 33 “bionic flaps … reminiscent of scales of reptiles” communicate with the driver and “through the driver” (terrifying) via naturally flowing movements in subtle gestures.

More practically, the driver can control both the front and rear axles in the same or opposite directions. This allows the VISION AVTR to move sideways by approximately 30 degrees. Mercedes says this creates a “crab movement” and an animal-like appearance for the car.

Sustainable Materials

The seats of the VISION AVTR utilize vegan DINAMICA leather. DINAMICA is the first and only microfiber that guarantees environmental sustainability throughout the entire production cycle.

And the floor is decorated with an innovative wood called karuun. The raw material for karuun (rattan) grows very fast as a natural raw material and is harvested by hand in Indonesia. This, the brand claims, gives the interior warmth and radiates naturalness.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.