Mercedes' Vision of

tomorrow

Mercedes Vision Urbanetic People Mover
Mercedes Vision Urbanetic Cargo Mover
Mercedes Vision Urbanetic modules
Mercedes Vision Urbanetic
Mercedes Vision Urbanetic People Mover front detail

IT has no driver, no steering wheel and no brake or accelerator pedals - but it is capable of spotting pedestrians and can even let them know that it's seen them.

And what's more this futuristic, bug-shaped vehicle can move both people and freight thanks to its modular design and interchangeable bodies.

Bad news for white van man, perhaps, but this is the vision of driverless urban transportation of the future according to Mercedes-Benz Vans - a revolutionary mobility concept that goes way beyond existing ideas on autonomous vehicles, says the company. It will be revealed at a major commercial vehicle show in Hannover later this month.

The Vision Urbanetic concept is based on a self-driving, electrically powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for people moving or goods transport. Fitted with a people carrier module it can accommodate up to twelve passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to ten pallets.

The result is a self-driving fleet within one vehicle which, thanks to built-in IT systems, can work out supply and demand within a defined area in real time and plan its own routes on the basis of current transportation needs. All of this makes the Vision Urbanetic a ground-breaking concept for future urban mobility, says Mercedes.

Thanks to full networking, the evaluation of local information - such as concerts and events - and intelligent control, the system not only analyses current road conditions, it can also learn from them and can anticipate and react to future needs.

The vehicle is equipped with different interchangeable bodies depending on needs and a wide array of bodies could be developed for other sectors and applications, says Mercedes. The modules are switched either automatically or manually, with the automated process taking just a few minutes.

The absence of a driver's cab also frees up space for interior design. Steering wheel, pedals, dashboard and the entire cockpit are things of the past. The space can be used instead for additional passengers or a higher goods volume.

Mercedes has even tried to address current safety concerns and scepticism over autonomous vehicles. The Urbanetic uses multiple cameras and sensor systems to observe its surroundings and a large-format display on the front of the vehicle informs pedestrians crossing the street in front of it that it has noticed them.

Meanwhile a system called digital shadowing around the side door uses several hundred light units to display the contours of approaching individuals along the flanks, signalling to them that the vehicle has spotted them approaching.

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