A lucky few in San Francisco caught a glimpse of a the rarest of Mercedes recently—one without a driver. Here’s what the vehicle looked like:
The concept car, dubbed the F015, was originally shown at the Consumer Electronics Show and the Detroit Auto Show, a Mercedes spokesperson told Fortune. It was on the streets of San Francisco because development on some of the technology therein is being done in nearby Sunnyvale.
Autonomous cars have been one of the most talked about technologies in the world in recent months. General Motors, for instance, has announced plans to get cars with autonomous features on the road by 2017. Technology firms such as Google and Uber have poured millions into their development.
Mercedes is already one of the leading names in Luxury vehicles, second only to BMW in the United States. The company sold 330,391 cars in the US in 2014. That’s a 5.7% increase over 2013. BMW, though, had an even bigger increase, reported 24/7 Wall St.
Luxury cars are an extremely lucrative space in the United States; the volume is lower than other areas of the auto industry, but the margins are much higher. As autonomous driving becomes more and more popular, automated features are increasingly likely to become part of the selling proposition for higher-end vehicles.
In an earnings report last month, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler noted a net profit of €7.3 ($7.92) billion, down from €8.7 ($9.44) billion the previous year.