n a promotion for its first production fuel-cell vehicle in Germany, Mercedes-Benz turned a B-Class hatchback invisible — at least, from a distance, using the same idea behind the invisible car in the James Bond film “Die Another Day.”
The invisibility cloak had its tryout on the streets of Stuttgart, Germany. To make Q’s idea of an invisible car real, Mercedes employed dozens of technicians and some $263,000 worth of flexible LED mats covering one side of the car. Using a camera mounted on the opposite side of the vehicle, the LEDs were programmed to reproduce the image from the camera at the right scale, blending the vehicle into the background from a few feet away. Doing so required power sources, computers and other gear totaling 1,100 lbs. of equipment inside the B-Class.
Mercedes’ point was to show how the F-Cell hydrogen fuel cell powered car would be invisible to the environment, producing only water vapor and heat for emissions.