LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Along with the highly-anticipated EQC all-electric SUV and the new second-generation CLA compact four-door coupe, Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its Vision Urbanetic Concept, created by Mercedes-Benz Vans, at the 2019 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.
The Vision Urbanetic Concept, which was first revealed In September of 2018 at the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Copenhagen, is a skateboard-style, fully-autonomous electric-powered platform that can be coupled with either a cabin module to transport occupants or a cargo module to move goods. The Vision Urbanetic Concept is quite large. It measures 5.14 metres in length and is 2.33 metres tall. When topped with a cabin module, the Vision Urbanetic can transport up to twelve passengers in a car-sharing scenario and it can haul up to 10 cubic metres worth of goods when topped with the cargo module. Switching between modules can be done in a few minutes either manually or automatically.
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The skateboard chassis integrates the electric drive motor, battery pack, control electronics as well as the multiple cameras, sensors and computers required for fully autonomous driving. LED displays front and rear have been designed to communicate with the outside world and inform other road users as to the vehicle’s movements. The shape of the cabin module is described as being “organic” by Mercedes-Benz and its interior has been set up with three different zones. There is a “lounge” area in the rear, a standing zone in the middle and a seating area up front with large windows for sightseeing along the journey. An interlinked communication system continually feeds information along the trip as well as entertainment features. An air conditioning system is also featured for the comfort of the passengers.
This latest concept for urban mobility by Mercedes-Benz Vans is also reminiscent of the e-Palette Concept, which Toyota introduced at CES just last year. The Toyota e-Palette can also be configured as a people-mover, transport for goods or even a mobile office, and will be in use during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This year at CES, Bosch is also introducing a similar electric, self-driving shuttle pod concept, which will be featured in an autonomous driving pilot program in San Jose, California in the second half of 2019.