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Mercedes Previews Future City Driving with Vision URBANETIC Concept

Mercedes Previews Future City Driving with Vision URBANETIC Concept

What Makes the Mercedes Vision Urbanetic Concept Special

The Urbanetic is the latest “mobility concept” from Mercedes-Benz Vans, and as you probably expect, it comes with all sorts of bits and bobbles to help paint a techy future for the brand.

Let’s start with the styling, which kind of reminds us of some sort of cyborg alien hive mind thing on wheels.

It’s an aesthetic we’ve seen from the brand in the past, such as with the Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo concept presented in 2015, but this time around, it’s progressed to include quite a few more details.

That said, we suspect the real meat of this concept are the ideas behind it, rather than the aesthetic draped on top of it.

The exterior comes equipped with an array of displays and lights that will effectively notify others around the vehicle that the car has “noticed” them, providing a platform whereby the car can interact with pedestrians and other nearby drivers as well.

The Idea Behind The Concept

“Vision Urbanetic eliminates the separation between people moving and goods transport,” Merc explains in a press release. “It enables on-demand, sustainable and efficient movement of people and goods – and applies an innovative approach to fulfill the needs of cities, businesses from diverse sectors as well as city dwellers and travelers.”

Essentially, Merc hopes this concept will help to ease congestion and improve the efficiency of inner-city infrastructure, and as a consequence, improve the overall quality of life for those living in an urban environment.

What’s more, the all-electric powertrain will help to lower ambient street noise and local emissions, while the autonomous drive should offer greater freedom when going about city planning thanks to its integration with a “holistic system solution.”

“As a fully networked vehicle, Vision Urbanetic is part of an ecosystem in which commercial and private mobility wishes are transmitted digitally,” Mercedes says. “Vision Urbanetic collates these needs and fulfills them with a highly flexible fleet, facilitating a considerable improvement in the use of resources.”

Flexibility And Function

Underneath it all, the Mercedes Vision Urbanetic Concept is like a big all-electric skateboard, fitting a variety of different bodies and playing a number of different roles.

The bodies can be swapped in “just a few minutes,” and fall primarily into two unique camps – moving people, and moving goods.

When it comes to moving people, the concept is essentially a self-driving ride-sharing service, with as many as 12 passengers accommodated inside. We can imagine a variety of luxurious set-ups offered as well.

For cargo, the body can hold up to ten standard pallets. There’s also a variable load floor, with up to two levels accommodating as much as 10 square meters (107.6 square feet) of stuff.

Alternatively, the vehicle can use an automated cargo space system, which enables its use as a mobile package station for “last-mile deliveries.” Mercedes also points out that the variable structure is adaptable and can fit a variety of applications appropriate to any number of businesses and industries.

Autonomous Technology

The real motivator behind this concept is fully autonomous driving technology and all the possibilities it can offer. As such, a full gamut of sensors and cameras mounted around the car make it all work properly.

Clearly, this technology has myriad uses, especially when it comes to moving freight and cargo.

With robot drivers, business operating costs can drop “significantly,” as no human driver means the vehicle can be put to use 24/7, 365 days a year. What’s more, the chassis can drive itself even without a body, adding even more flexibility.

The benefits continue inside, where the lack of a steering wheel, pedals, and dash controls means there’s even more space for folks and cargo.

Interestingly, the car will connect with the greater surrounding data network, analyzing in real time various parameters. As part of a “self-driving fleet,” the car will map out specific routes that are “planned flexibly and efficiently on the basis of current transportation needs.” The system also includes learning parameters that can adapt to the situation at hand, for example, anticipating higher traffic loads during an upcoming concert or similar event.

Final Thoughts

While the style this thing brings to the table is a bit… questionable, the ideas behind it are rock solid.

Self-driving electric vehicles are undoubtedly the way forward, as evidenced by the long list of benefits listed above. Most enthusiasts think of such machines as the work of the devil, but the thing is, folks who prefer to drive will still that option – just not necessarily in the congested urban environment.

Concepts like the Urbanetic are centered around easing simple transportation, not a fun run on a favorite back road, so don’t worry.

Further Reading

Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo.

Read more autonomous cars news.

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

Car News

via TopSpeed Newsletter

September 16, 2018 at 03:49AM


Car News



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