Mercedes-Benz Vision Urbanetic Has Hot-swappable Body Kits

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It’s Mercedes’ most ambitious autonomous concept yet, and has its own self-learning IT system for road conditions. 

In the automotive world, tastes and consumer trends change. So do engine technologies and infotainment features. There are a couple of constants, though. People always need to go somewhere they’re not already and cargo always needs to be moved from one place to another. With its new Vision Urbanetic concept, Mercedes-Benz has created a vehicle that can do both quietly and autonomously.

At the base of Vision Urbanetic is a chassis that runs autonomously on battery-electric power. Buyers can top that with one of two purpose-built bodies which can be removed or installed in a couple of minutes. There’s a passenger-friendly shell for ridesharing services that can fit up to 12 passengers. As the video above shows, the Vision Urbanetic can sense where its smartphone-using passengers are and pull right up to them. According to Road Show, “The front and sides of the body have big screens that let pedestrians know when the vehicle ‘sees’ them, giving those pedestrians some extra piece of mind as they step into a crosswalk.” Mercedes-Benz Vision URBANETIC Concept

For transporting goods, there’s a cargo-focused top that can be divided into two levels and carry up to EPAL (European Palette Association) palettes on its 12-foot-long load floor (the majority of the Vision Urbanetic’s total length of 17 feet). Total cargo volume is 353 cubic feet. Mercedes-Benz Vision URBANETIC Concept

A self-learning IT system enables Vision Urbanetic to continually change the route it takes based on real-time traffic information. The system is compatible with fleet management, planning flexible and efficient routes in accordance with the fleet’s transportation needs.

Some things, such as the need to move people and things, never change, but it’s clear that Mercedes is already thinking about vehicles that can do just that based on where,  and how, they’re needed.

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Derek Shiekhi contributes to a variety of Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including J-K Forum , Jaguar Forums, and 5 Series. He's also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association.

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