Digital Transformer: Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA

2015   ICD Research Buildings / Prototypes

Mercedes-Benz Design, Daimler AG
Institute for Computational Design and Construction (Prof. A. Menges, S. Reichert)

Mercedes-Benz Press Images

Impressions from IAA Frankfurt

Project Video

Source: YouTube

Digital Transformer: Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA

Mercedes-Benz is presenting its new showcar ‘Concept IAA’ (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) at the IAA in Frankfurt. Thanks to highly innovative features this concept car fuses permanent conflicts between function and aesthetics in a novel unique manner. The ‘Concept IAA’ possesses two states: After reaching a speed of 80 km/h, the car switches automatically from the aesthetic-mode to the extremely efficient aerodynamic-mode. Through active and adaptive aerodynamic features, the car changes its gestalt and increased aerodynamic efficiency from a cd-value of 0.25 to 0.19 – world record for a four-door coupé.

The active, adaptive aerodynamic features are:

  1. A novel dynamically controllable, segmented grill is able to locally open and close to constantly provide the best compromise between cooling of the cars engine and improved airflow.
  2. Below the grill, a front spoiler is pulled backwards to channel air underneath the car.
  3. Two aero flaps integrated in the bumper move outwards and backwards to guide the air over the wheels respectively the front wheel arches.
  4. Through centrifugal force, adaptive rims change their shape from a sporty 5-spoke design towards a flat disk wheel and this way significantly reduces aerodynamic turbulences.
  5. In the rear, eight segments automatically move out and extend the cars shape by 390 millimetre which minimizes the wake vortex.

Since 2010 the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) and Mercedes-Benz Design are collaborating on the research project ‘Computational Design Strategies for Automotive Design‘. Steffen Reichert (research associate and PhD candidate at the ICD) investigates algorithmic design methods and their application for automobile design. He contributed significantly to the design of the ‘Concept IAA’, particularly in the development of the aerodynamic features of the car. His custom developed algorithmic design methods have been utilized since the very beginning of the project. In collaboration with the designers from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center Sindelfingen Steffen Reichert created a computational generative 3D-model using customized software. This model allowed designing the aerodynamic features and properties in three-dimensional space while simultaneously evaluating both states of the car as well as the transitional phases. In addition, Steffen Reichert developed custom algorithms in collaboration with the designers of the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Center Como to efficiently design a novel CNC-perforation for seat and door elements for the interior of the car. The resulting differentiated slot pattern can be precisely adjusted in its topology, orientation and size to fit to the boundary conditions of the production pieces.

The ‘Concept IAA’ will be shown from 17th to 27th of September on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the IAA in Frankfurt, Germany.


Mercedes-Benz Design, Daimler AG
ICD Institute for Computational Design and Construction Prof. Achim Menges

Scientific Development

Steffen Reichert
In collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Design, Daimler AG

Contact information


Institute for Computational Design and Construction

University of Stuttgart, Keplerstraße 11, 70174 Stuttgart

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