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Mercedes-Benz BIOME Concept – could cars be grown in a lab?

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November 29, 2010

Front view of the Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Front view of the Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Image Gallery (11 images)

Get ready to have your concept of how a car is manufactured flipped upside-down and turned inside-out. Picture a production process that has plenty in common with agar jelly (used to culture organic materials in laboratories) and little in common with what we would normally think of as production-line automotive manufacturing. You are starting to get close to what the people at Mercedes-Benz have spawned with the BIOME – one of the most outlandish and ambitious concepts in this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge.

In short, the BIOME would be grown in a lab rather than built on a production line.

"As the inventor of the motor car, we wanted to illustrate the vision of the perfect vehicle of the future, which is created and functions in complete symbiosis with nature. The Mercedes-Benz BIOME is a natural technology hybrid, and forms part of our earth's ecosystem. It grows and thrives like the leaves on a tree" Hubert Lee, head of the Mercedes-Benz advanced design studios said.

This vision includes growing a material called BioFibre which would be lighter than metal or plastic, yet stronger than steel. The resulting car would weighs in at 875.5 lbs (around 394 kg). The entire vehicle would also be completely biodegradable.

BIOME is designed to change how you think cars can be manufactured

“The interior of the BIOME grows from the DNA in the Mercedes star on the front of the vehicle, while the exterior grows from the star on the rear. To accommodate specific customer requirements, the Mercedes star is genetically engineered in each case, and the vehicle grows when the genetic code is combined with the seed capsule. The wheels are grown from four separate seeds,” Mercedes-Benz explained.

Once on the road the vehicle would run on "BioNectar4534" stored in the car's BioFibre, of which the only by-product is oxygen.

Wildly ambitious? Yes. Completely implausible? Maybe. But the whole point of the Design Challenge is to think outside the square ... the BIOME certainly does that.

A full-scale mock-up was on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

21 Comments

Maybe they could put forward some information on how they're going to grow a rolling bearing.

Or take less drugs...

Either or.

Drew__1
29th November, 2010 @ 05:26 pm PST

grown from seeds?!?!?!?!, give me what ever your taking

Facebook User
29th November, 2010 @ 07:20 pm PST

Oh my gosh.... this is just amazing! This is one big steps towards technology. Future cars may follow these designs. It is amazing, this car actually runs on oxygen?? If they go to the next step with this car, it may be actually hover!!!! This can be the beginning of the future! Best of luck with your designs. Hope the next design of this car flies!

Facebook User
29th November, 2010 @ 10:41 pm PST

Luigi Colani did it.. hm.. 40 years ago, can someone please do something new in automotive design !

Adam Zer
30th November, 2010 @ 01:33 am PST

This is a pretty wild concept. Using the same technology, they might be able to "generate" buildings or whole cities. It would make creating a base on the moon or another planet easier.

ForFreedom
30th November, 2010 @ 04:28 am PST

I, too, can come up with absurdly improbable science fiction ideas for a utopian future. Hey Mercedes, looking for more "visionaries"?

Lost
30th November, 2010 @ 07:23 am PST

I may be getting on in years, but I'm sure it isn't April 1st yet........is it?

Ian Colley.

Terotech
30th November, 2010 @ 07:59 am PST

Um ya,, pay me 60-80K a year and I can come up with great ideas that will never become a reality too!!!

Joe Sobotka
30th November, 2010 @ 12:05 pm PST

It's the cabbage patch car of the future!

Matfink
30th November, 2010 @ 01:32 pm PST

Skip ahead with me to a few months after this hits market, if you will: "news flash, MB recalls Biome car, owners claim the car is growing on them- literally!" Hey, cars gotta "thrive" too!

Bio-Fibre? sounds like cotton, hemp silk...Bio-nectar (which might be the secret ingredient in their "visionary" workings...sounds sweet. But I place money on this. That they are bith simply variants of "unobtanium."

waltinseattle
30th November, 2010 @ 04:37 pm PST

ha-ha....nice try Benz....but the fact to flair ratio is a bit out of Kilter to make the car totally convincing. I might have a go at rewriting the, ahem, "facts" myself and test it on our readers.

Terry Penrose
30th November, 2010 @ 06:47 pm PST

hmm i guess its true that europe really does have the best pot...give me some of what you are smoking guys

Erlord Ofthe Afterscape
1st December, 2010 @ 07:33 am PST

Whether it works as they say is irrelevant. I'd be happy to just live in it.

ducati_boy
1st December, 2010 @ 04:12 pm PST

Baffling useless comments all the time.

Look up Jules Vernes, 20k leagues under the sea. He was thinking out of the box too. Wikipedia says it to be science fiction. This is science fiction too today but might be reality somewhere in 100 years.

Hats of for having this original idea! Might spark bioengineers minds to create something "more simple" in this line of this.

To continue the thinking. You might fill up the car with coconuts that contain the special fuel this car runs on... Not too far fetched heh

Pl0pie
2nd December, 2010 @ 05:05 am PST

Sounds like Mercedes Benz 'Stars' will fetch a pretty price on the black market. And, bye the bye, how long will it be before some hapless driver hears: "I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that". (What's wrong with them concentrating on producing an affordable SLS - " ... for the rest of us."?)

Myron J. Poltroonian
2nd December, 2010 @ 12:35 pm PST

Addendum: The article notes: "Once on the road the vehicle would run on 'BioNectar4534' stored in the car's BioFibre, of which the only by-product is oxygen." Sounds great, at first blush. However, like the "Hydrogen Highway" - whose only by product is water vapor, which is the major component of clouds that in turn are the primary cause of Global Warming - exposure to too concentrated an amount of oxygen can produce deleterious, disorienting effects on the human occupants. Including the driver. Then there's the little tidbit about BioNectar (the "Fuel") which is stored in the Biofibre (the vehicle). No mention is made of the ability to refuel. What happens when you run out - buy a new one and watch the old one biodegrade? Great for Mercedes, but lousy for all the fuel stations out there though.

Myron J. Poltroonian
2nd December, 2010 @ 12:53 pm PST

I gues to get better milage you keep buying feners & hoods for fuel!

Gary Greenwood
2nd December, 2010 @ 03:35 pm PST

-Dad! Dad! I think I'd swallowed the car!

-Well, when you'll grow up we'll keep you in the garage, close to us.

salvatore.forte
2nd December, 2010 @ 11:58 pm PST

I like Colani also, even if my favorite design still is Lamborghini Countach / LM 002/4.

Bio growth, as far as todays technology goes, would be algea in tanks, but could replace oil-based plastics.

Algreen-ussing Søren
11th December, 2010 @ 06:19 am PST

Cool Idea!

I think people need to realise that 200 years ago ideas of 'Todays Cars' would sound like witchery and be ridiculed in a similar manner as the idea above. And don't be fooled by naivety, the possibility they have already started working on the basics is definitely there.

By the way I hear they would grow the wheels separately.

Evidence suggests this is highly possible, think outside the box... and come on, do we really need weed to do this?

Anyway, it is a cool idea lol.

Jay Johnson
25th May, 2013 @ 03:45 am PDT

Anyone else reminded of ATMOS form doctorwho

Ryan Penrod
20th February, 2014 @ 07:43 am PST
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