Ur­ban transport the Benz way

The Witness - Wheels - - NEWS - AL­WYN VILJOEN — WR.

CON­TIN­U­ING the theme started by Toy­ota’s e-Pal­lete and Ein­ride’s ro­botic, wheeled plat­forms, Mercedes-Benz last week in­tro­duced the Vi­sion Ur­ba­netic con­cept.

Ba­si­cally an elec­tric plat­form with full au­ton­o­mous driv­ing sys­tems to de­liver a wide range of loads, the con­cept aims to be the ba­sis for a transport com­pany fleet or a pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem rather than for per­sonal transport.

Mercedes said in a state­ment that the plat­form could de­liver a fleet that re­quires fewer ve­hi­cles, yet can op­er­ate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as a mover of both goods and peo­ple.

No driver means cheaper run­ning costs and less hu­man er­ror, and the abil­ity to run at all hours with­out manda­tory rest stops makes any fleet more ef­fi­cient. Elec­tric drive trains also re­duce in­ner-city noise and pol­lu­tion. The au­ton­o­mous driv­ing sys­tems in­clude full net­work­ing with an IT in­fras­truc­ture that can an­a­lyse fac­tors such as lo­cal events, crowds, the Vi­sion Ur­ba­netic’s sta­tus and in­put from other net­worked ve­hi­cles to make a re­al­time de­ter­mi­na­tion of sup­ply and de­mand, and op­ti­mise this with flex­i­ble routes and timeta­bles.

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