Mercedes-Benz Vans has unveiled a fully-electric concept dubbed the Vision Urbanetic at an event in Copenhagen last night.
The autonomous van while loudly styled, serves a utilitarian purpose, as Mercedes attempts to eliminate the separation between people moving and goods transport by employing a switchable body mechanism.
An electrically powered chassis can take on different bodies, accommodating up to 12 people in ride sharing guise, or carrying up to 10 EPAL pallets with a bespoke cargo body.
The autonomous chassis will also function without a body attached, and more body types for other applications can be developed.
By using an IT infrastructure that analyses the road environment in real time, as well as supply and demand for commercial and private mobility in a particular area, Mercedes believes the latest Vision concept could help reduce congestion significantly, while lowering noise and air pollution.
Designed specifically for inner-urban environments, the Vision Urbanetic is a fully networked vehicle, and can continually adjust its route based on real-time traffic information.
It also evaluates events that attract crowds, and based on this information can either avoid a particular area to ensure faster delivery times, or target the area to ease the ride-sharing demand.
The engineers behind the concept recognise the sceptisism consumers have around autonomous vehicles, so the Vision Urbanetic uses multiple cameras and sensors to display the car's surroundings and communicates the cars 'decision making' with the passengers.
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