Currently wowing the crowds at the Shanghai motorshow is the Mercedes GLA concept, complete with laser movie projectors integrated into its headlights. The concept car also has removable GoPro-style HD cameras
The Mercedes GLA concept previews the upcoming production version of the GLA. It's a small USV based on the new Mercedes A Class hatchback. Think BMW X1, Audi Q3 and MINI Countryman and you'll get an idea where the GLA fit into things.
But will those laser beam eyes make production? And what's the point of them, anyway?
In terms of functionality, the projectors in the headlamps can image content from the GLA's COMAND infotainment. So that's video, pictures and graphics, the works.
If you're being frivolous, you can imagine parking up in front of a nice, clean wall in your local multi-storey and watching a few flicks. Exactly why you'd want to do that is an intriguing question. Perhaps, your house is on fire.
Anyway, on a more practical note, Mercedes reckons the projectors can also be used as an extension of the head-up display concept.
Form or function?
The system can project navigation cues in the form of arrows onto to the road ahead, providing both guidance to the driver and an indication to other road users of where the car is heading.
Sounds a little far fetched to us. We're not expecting to see it included on the production GLA.
Arguably more realistic are the cameras housed in the roof rails. These can capture high definition 3D stills and video. They can also be removed and attached to, for instance, a mountain bike helmet GoPro-stylee.
Given that videoing car-driving action is increasingly popular and that even installing the excellent GoPro Hero3 can be a bit fiddly and messy, a fully integrated camera option could be very interesting.
There's no word from Mercedes whether we're likely to see the cameras make production. But the final version of GLA will go on sale in the UK next year from around £25,000.
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