Mercedes Vision Urbanetic: Dream? Or Reality?
Slideshow: Mercedes-Benz introduced the fully autonomous, fully electric, and modular Vision Urbanetic last month. But realistically, how close are we to seeing these autonomous AI units on the road? Here's what we know about the concept.
1. Modularity equals practicality.
As with all things, size does matter. So, how big can Vision Urbabnetic get? According to Mercedes-Benz, the modular vehicle can alter the size of its interior to comfortably transport up to 12 passengers. At the same time, for companies looking to transport goods, the van can reconfigure itself to transport up to 10 regulation-sized pallets.
2. It is designed to transform effortlessly and intuitively.
Mercedes-Benz claims the van will be equipped with a sophisticated computer system that assesses the space demands needed in real time, then automatically shifts seats, panels, and the body as a whole over just a few minutes. The interior’s components can also be switched around manually, for some of the more unique transportation situations.
3. The on-board artificial intelligence improves efficiency.
Vision Urbabnetic is equipped with self-learning capabilities. While this is a nice selling-point, what does it actually mean? In short, what Mercedes-Benz is claiming here is that the van’s onboard system possesses the ability to pull from online data sets like public gatherings (e.g. concerts) or event notices, and then intelligently reconfigure its switchable internal bodies to suit the vehicle’s current needs in such situations. This, in turn, would reduce the wait time for those looking for a ride in the van, or otherwise help improve the delivery time of companies that are looking to utilize the van for the transportation of goods.
4. It is compatible with our current infrastructure.
So, what’s interesting about the Vision Urbabnetic is that Mercedes-Benz is designing it to work within our current infrastructure; that is, existing roads, highways, etc. Indeed, the goal and the purpose of Vision Urbabnetic is to help reduce the number of cars on the road and eliminate congestion in city environments.
5. Is it in our near future?
By designing within the limits of current infrastructure, it certainly seems like Vision Urbabnetic is on the road to realization. The ability to transform itself is immediately applicable. What’s holding the Vision Urbabnetic back is the ability for driverless cars to safely navigate roads and highways without risking the safety of human drivers—once this (not so minor) issue is solved, the Vision Urbabnetic could well be a solution that will lead to transportation that is more efficient and eco-friendly. The future of transportation now depends on the advancement of autonomous driving technologies, as well as the progress of government regulations in this regard.
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