TechThought: Silver Lightning Concept Car
Back in 1932, Mercedes Benz released their motor and Formula One racing car, the Silver Arrow. The Silver Arrow was very successful, and the most popular car for german racers in the 1930s. The trademark white, for Germany, decorating the car, the Silver Arrow won many competitions. It even won the French Grand Prix 1-2-3. This type of car was a source of pride to the company and country, and it was only logical to preserve it’s greatness.
79 years later, at the 2011 LA Design Challenge, Mercedes Benz were showing off their concept car, Silver Lighting. Silver Lightning, as you may have guessed, was inspired by Silver Arrow, reintroducing the pride of Mercedes prowess in the racing sport.
As part of their presentation, they made a short film about the car:
Silver Lightning was not only inspired by Silver Arrow, it was also inspired by classic sci-fi movies, as is a lot of technology today. Think about it. The flip-up communicators from Star Trek. In the Silver Lighning’s case, the futuristic lights on the wheels were inspired by Tron: Legacy, and the shape was inspired by Star Wars: Episode II. Along with science fiction, the Silver Lightning embodies everything we want the future to be like: flashy, slick, technologically advanced, and as cool as heck.
Silver Lightning is still not coming out any time soon. It uses a lot of future technologies, like Mag-Tech. Mag-Tech is a retractable roof system, a lot like nowadays convertible roofs. But instead of having to take the whole roof off, this technology would make it easier. Mag-Tech uses small lightweight magnetic squares to quicken the process, and can be quickly put together to make a roof, or easily contracted to make a convertible.
When you look at Silver Lightning, you may be wondering, “Where are the wheels? All I see are rings where the wheels should be!” Totally understandable. Those rings ARE actually the wheels, which is another future technology that might postpone the release of Silver Lightning. The technology is called Omni-Directional Wheels. Inside the rings, there are rollers that are all placed in a different direction, making the car able to move in all directions. This technology would let the driver be able to move the car in all different directions, not just forward and back, and is already being used in the storage and manufacturing business for lifting boxes and heavy objects. Omni-directional wheels would eliminate the need for parallel parking, which in sure many new drivers would be happy about, but the technology isn’t yet ready for implementation into racing or even regular automobiles.
Silver Lightning is designed for speed. The sleek design is perfect for zooming down the freeway or track. But just like Lamborghinis and Maseratis, it will probably become a fancy sports car that like to show off. The problem with many of these technologies, such as the segway, and even Google Glass, is that the hype surrounding them blocks out the unfortunate downsides of the technology itself. It may look cool now, but by the time we get to a point where any of these technologies would be possible, which wouldn’t be that far into the future, there will most likely already be many cars with the same design. Who knows, there may be a time when having a Maserati Silver Lighting would be just as normal as having a Toyota, but for now, it is still a futuristic concept, yet to be built.