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Autonomous Vehicles, Concepts, Electric Vehicles, Mercedes, Mercedes Concept
Mercedes-Benz Vans has revealed a new mobility concept that blurs the line between passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

The Vision Urbanetic is an autonomous, all-electric driving platform that can accommodate either a cargo module for the transportation of goods or a people-mover module.

As the press release puts it, the Vision Urbanetic “eliminates the separation between people moving and goods transport.” Mercedes-Benz Vans claims the mobility concept can fulfill the needs of cities, businesses, city dwellers and travelers alike.

As a result, it can transport more people and goods with fewer vehicles, thus contributing to reducing traffic flows, relieving inner-city infrastructures, and improving the quality of urban life.

Based on a self-driving, electrically-powered chassis compatible with different switchable bodies, Vision Urbanetic has a dual personality. It’s both a ride-sharing vehicle that can accommodate up to 12 passengers or a commercial vehicle able to carry up to 10 EPAL pallets.

That’s remarkable given that total vehicle length is 5.14 meters (202.3 in), and the cargo module has a 3.7-meter long (145.6 in) load space. It also has 10 cubic meters (353.1 cu ft) of cargo volume and a variable load floor. The absence of a driver’s cab also contributes to maximizing passenger/cargo volume.

The autonomous driving platform can switch the modules either automatically or manually, with the automated process said to take just a few minutes. And since the chassis incorporates all the driving functions, it can drive to the next job location without a body attached.

Finally, Vision Urbanetic incorporates an IT infrastructure that analyzes the supply and demand from a defined area in real time. Thanks to full networking and intelligent control, the system can also learn from current needs. It is, therefore, “able to anticipate and react to future needs.”

For example, it can identify a crowd of people gathering in a certain area and send vehicles there to satisfy the increased demand.

The article has been updated with live photos from the 2018 IAA Hannover

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