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A SOME­WHAT CHAMELEON-ES­QUE abil­ity to change bod­ies for ei­ther peo­ple-mov­ing shut­tle bus du­ties, or cargo van-de­liv­ery ser­vices, makes the re­cently an­nounced Mercedes-Benz Vi­sion URBANETIC au­tonomous ve­hi­cle a ground-break­ing con­cept for fu­ture ur­ban mo­bil­ity, said the com­pany, adding that it goes “way be­yond ex­ist­ing ideas on au­tonomous ve­hi­cles”.

Elim­i­nat­ing “the sepa­ra­tion be­tween peo­ple mov­ing and goods trans­port,” the Vi­sion URBANETIC en­ables on-de­mand, sus­tain­able and ef­fi­cient move­ment of peo­ple and goods – and ap­plies an in­no­va­tive ap­proach to ful­fil the needs of cities, busi­nesses from di­verse sec­tors, as well as city dwellers and trav­ellers, said the com­pany. The con­cept re­duces traf­fic flows, re­lieves in­ner-city in­fra­struc­tures and con­trib­utes to an im­proved qual­ity of ur­ban life, ac­cord­ing to Mercedes-Benz.


In­trigu­ingly, Vi­sion URBANETIC is said to be equipped with dif­fer­ent in­ter­change­able bod­ies depend­ing on pur­pose of use. As a ride-shar­ing ve­hi­cle with a peo­ple-mover body, it of­fers space for up to 12 pas­sen­gers. The mod­ules are switched ei­ther au­to­mat­i­cally or man­u­ally, with the au­to­mated process tak­ing just a few min­utes. As stated, the sys­tem is based on an au­tonomous driv­ing plat­form onto which the re­spec­tive bod­ies are fixed. It in­cor­po­rates all the driv­ing func­tions, mean­ing the au­tonomous chas­sis can also make its way to its next job lo­ca­tion without a body at­tached. Ab­so­lute safety is guar­an­teed by re­dun­dant com­po­nents for all rel­e­vant ac­tions, such as steer­ing, brak­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion, says MB.

Thanks to its vari­able load floor, it can be di­vided into two lev­els with load space vol­ume of 10m3. Mul­ti­ple fur­ther-use cases are also con­ceiv­able as the con­cept can be equipped with an ar­ray of bod­ies for other sec­tors and ap­pli­ca­tions, it’s stated.


Due to fully au­to­mated driver­less op­er­a­tion, op­er­at­ing costs fall sig­nif­i­cantly with Vi­sion URBANETIC, says Mercedes-Benz. Plus, with the ex­cep­tion of charg­ing times for the bat­tery-elec­tric drive and main­te­nance pe­ri­ods, each ve­hi­cle can be in use around the clock, 365 days a year, it’s claimed.

The sys­tem ar­chi­tec­ture of the au­tonomous Vi­sion URBANETIC en­sures con­tin­ual route adap­ta­tion us­ing real-time traf­fic in­for­ma­tion. The op­er­a­tor’s fleet man­age­ment is also part of the IT sys­tem, with us­age con­ceiv­able in re­stricted ar­eas, such as a fac­tory site or air­port, as well as in road traf­fic.

Its elec­tric drive de­liv­ers zero-lo­cale­mis­sions mo­bil­ity, thus mak­ing it the per­fect ve­hi­cle for city cen­tres and ar­eas sub­ject to le­gal ac­cess re­stric­tions, MB says. The elec­tric drive is vir­tu­ally noise­less.

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