Mercedes-Benz’s Van division has revealed an interesting concept called Vision URBANETIC – a fully autonomous and electric vehicle that can be used for people or goods.
The concept imagines a city in the future, probably in 2040 or 2050 where the personal ownership of a car is almost a thing of the past. As you might have guessed already, the vehicle is mainly aimed at fleet operators and ride sharing businesses in the future.
The concept comes with two interchangeable modules for people or goods, with a single self-driving platform. The people-mover body has space for up to 12 passengers while the cargo body can carry up to 10 EPAL pallets.
The concept incorporates an IT infrastructure that analyses in real time the supply and demand within a defined area, and switches the modules accordingly. The modules are switched either automatically or manually.
To assure the people that they can trust the vehicle, particularly with its people-mover body, the company said that the URBANETIC uses multiple cameras and sensor systems to observe its surroundings in their entirety and communicates actively with them. It uses the large display on the front of the vehicle to inform pedestrians crossing the street in front of it that it has noticed them.
“Vision URBANETIC is part of a holistic ecosystem. The system analyses the transport needs of people and goods and compiles a highly flexible, needs-based fleet. During the daytime rush hours, Vision URBANETIC transports mainly people then switches to city-centre goods transportation at night. Plus, it can serve as a mobile base for last-mile delivery drones or self-driving robots. The broad diversity of usage options means all sorts of different companies could share a vehicle or even a whole fleet, such as shuttle services and public services or couriers and package logistics companies. This will relieve cities and ultimately improve the quality of life in urban areas,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.