Vanishing Point

By Judy Berman

The bragging rights of a new car – the enviable stares, the admiring glances, the unabashed ogling. That’s now past tense.

Now the point may be not to be seen at all. Of course, that could be a problem in high-traffic areas when you want to avoid a crash.

Mercedes-Benz’ “Invisible” Mercedes F-Cell was put through its paces on the streets of Stuttgart, Germany, this week. This technology is straight out of the James Bond movie, “Die Another Day.”

Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) is driving an Aston Martin Vanquish which is being hotly pursued in a rapidly-melting ice palace by his foe (Zao). Zao (Rick Yune) aims his Jaguar XKR straight for Bond’s car, which vanishes moments before the intended impact.

“I’m looking through you. Where did you go? I’m looking through you. You’re not the same.” (The Beatles’ “I’m Looking Thru You”)

The F-Cell, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, is being manufactured in limited quantities. But the “Invisible” Mercedes F-Cell, an emission-free car, is still a car of the future.

“While the car isn’t completely invisible, you are just seeing a moving outline because the LED screen is projecting what’s behind it. The effect works best when the scenery behind is uniform, for example, while crossing the bridge in the video (link posted below), and at night when there’s more contrast between light and dark,” according to a story posted by Matthew Humphries on Geek.com.

The “invisibility” is the result of a lot of cameras and flexible LED-mats which can weigh nearly 1,100 pounds at a cost of nearly $263,000.

Is this what Taylor Swift is really singing about in “Invisible,” rather than unrequited love?

“And you just see right through me. But if you only knew me we could be a beautiful miracle, unbelievable. Instead of just invisible, yeah.”

Not to worry,Taylor. You could still be a beautiful pair. You could cruise the streets in a car that the paparazzi would not be able to detect. Perfect!

As for the rest of us who wish for a vanishing point from the maddening crowds, we’ll just have to wait for the price to come down.

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* Photos of the “Invisible” Mercedes (and a video in Motoramic. Article by Justin Hyde)

http://autos.yahoo.com/blogs/motoramic/invisible-mercedes-brings-james-bond-technology-life-171557818.html

* Mercedes article by Matthew Humphries on Geek.com. Includes videos:

http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/mercedes-create-near-invisible-car-using-leds-2012035/

* The chase scene from James Bond’s “Die Another Day”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbAiYjovbBM

* Pierce Brosnan who played secret agent James Bond in 4 films from 1995-2002

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PierceBrosnan(CannesPhotoCall).jpg