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Concept IAA is a Digital Shapeshifter from the Near Future

May 1, 2016

A product of worldwide R&D

Without the Mercedes-Benz worldwide R&D network, this aerodynamic transformer wouldn’t exist. Engineers adapted software to enable dynamic design in three-dimensional space. Designers employed the latest algorithmic methods. The Concept IAA’s world-beating aerodynamics were developed with the aid of numeric-flow simulation. Dynamic, digital modelling made it possible to display different states, simultaneously. Highly complex geometries were turned into reality with the aid of innovative production technologies, such as rapid prototyping. Concept IAA is the product of digital transformation and industry 4.0.



The car that transforms on the fly

This car is a shapeshifter. Parked, the Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA is a sleek, four-door automobile with classic sports-car proportions. Its design is minimalist, from its striking shark-nose front that aerodynamically flows upward along its hood and streams past its panoramic roof then slopes down at the rear. At city speeds, the vehicle’s modern, slim design makes it seem to slip through traffic. At highway speeds, the Concept IAA automatically changes shape — the rear extends and its front flaps come down to make this highly engineered car the world’s aerodynamic champion. It’s not just one car, but two: a sleek vehicle at cruising speed and an aerodynamic nonpareil on the highway.

The aerodynamic champion

The Concept IAA transforms at the touch of a button — or it can do it on its own, when the vehicle reaches 50 miles per hour. At highway speed, eight segments extend at the rear, increasing its length by up to 390 millimeters; flaps in the front and back also extend; the Active Rims alter their cupping from 55 millimeters to zero; and the louvre in the front bumper moves 60 millimeters to the rear. At present, the models from Mercedes-Benz occupy the top position for aerodynamics in nearly every vehicle segment. The Concept IAA is the apotheosis of aerodynamic innovation.

Touch-based operation

Inside, Concept IAA has elegant, curved forms and flowing lines and digital displays. Every detail is intelligently engineered — even the car’s user-friendly, two-spoke steering wheel. Embedded with haptic, touch-based operating functions grouped in ergonomic clusters, the buttons on the left side of the steering wheel control the left-hand display, while the button on the right controls the right-hand display. It’s simple to use and works beautifully with an optional heads-up display.

Harbinger of the near future

The inventor of the automobile is out to reinvent the car. The Concept IAA comes with touch controls that open the doors. Cameras replace the rear mirrors for greater clarity and less drag. Beneath the hood of the Concept IAA is a gas-electric plug-in hybrid drive with a total output of 279 horsepower. This car is a beast: it has a top speed of 155 miles per hour. The engineers and designers at Mercedes-Benz have built something more than a showcar: This is a trailblazer from our near future.