Mercedes-Benz Vans presents its Vision URBANETIC, a revolutionary mobility concept that goes way beyond existing ideas on autonomous vehicles. It enables on-demand sustainable and efficient movement of people and goods.
The visionary concept is a self-driving, electrically powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for people moving or goods transport.
As a ride-sharing vehicle with people mover body, Vision URBANETIC can accommodate up to twelve passengers, eight seats with four standing, while the cargo module can carry up to ten EPAL (euro) pallets.
The concept incorporates an IT infrastructure that analyses in real time the supply and demand within a defined area. The result is a self-driving fleet, with routes planned flexibly and efficiently on the basis of current transportation needs. All of this makes Vision URBANETIC a groundbreaking concept for future urban mobility
A load space is 3.70 meters long and fits into a total vehicle length of 5.14 meters. Plus, the concept incorporates an IT infrastructure that analyses in real time the supply and demand within a defined area.
“Vision URBANETIC is a completely new mobility concept configured specifically for actual needs as well as efficiency and sustainability. During the rush-hour traffic of early morning and late afternoon, the fleet can be equipped with more people-mover modules. During other times, the system would mainly be used for goods transport with the cargo module. The virtually noiseless electric drive makes the system viable for further late or night-time delivery options”, says Gerd Reichenbach, Head of Strategy at Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The passenger cabin is divided into three sections: a lounge in the rear, a zone in the middle for standing and a seated area up front. The rear section offers passengers a protected space with a cocooning effect. They can’t be seen from outside and can enjoy their privacy during the journey. In the central area close to the door is a space where passengers on short journeys can stand or lean. The front area is open and surrounded by windows, also a 360-degree halo display on the ceiling shows the most important information, such as stops or useful facts on the city and its surroundings. Augmented-reality projections can provide passengers with recommended route guidance to further city destinations, sent directly to their own mobile devices. These are based on individual passenger preferences and take into account the existing user profile.
The cargo mover finds a very good application in areas like last mile connectivity, not just limiting to personal transportation but also for goods. the vehicle has an intelligent loading system and a adaptable Cargo Flex Floor.The cargo module is filled with pre-loaded standard containers or load carriers via the rotating rear door – fully automatically or manually.
“Vision URBANETIC also represents a paradigm shift in B2B goods transportation. The distribution system for goods will become more decentralized in future and focused more on flexibility and efficiency. Instead of returning again and again to a central hub outside the city, the vehicles will be sent to smaller, decentralized, perhaps even mobile, hubs. This means faster deliveries and more agile reaction to changes in demand and retail inventory”, says Gerd Reichenbach.
Design and real world interaction
The skateboard chassis serves as a technology prototype and incorporates all driving functions. It is therefore designed purely for functionality. LED displays front and rear communicate with the outside world and inform pedestrians and other road users about the vehicle’s imminent actions and reactions. Instead of headlamps, the skateboard chassis is fitted with sensors that deploy or retract depending on driving status and thus serve as an indicator for autonomous driving.
As a level-5 autonomous driving vehicle it’s interaction with the real world drivers is essential.it uses a vehicle to x communication via a standardized platform to interact with other vehicles and road users and to recognize road signs and traffic signals.
LED displays on the people-mover module enable passengers to clearly identify their allocated Vision URBANETIC. Cameras on the right side of the vehicle and 360-degree sensors recognize if pedestrians or cyclists are in the immediate vicinity, which means a distance of between 30 centimeters and two meters. Digital shadowing uses LEDs on the exterior to project a shadow of the person’s silhouette onto the side of the vehicle. A total of 40 meters of LED strips contains hundreds of individual LEDs that can change color. This interaction assures cyclists, for instance, that the Vision URBANETIC has seen them and will act accordingly.