Mercedes-Benz now shows off latest concept car, called Vision URBANETIC. The autonomous vehicle can ferry passengers, cargo, and goods at the same time. Therefore, it blurs the lines between transport and delivery.

Unsurprisingly, URBANETIC runs on an all-electric chassis that can switch bodies depending on its required use. In that regard, it’s basically like a huge skateboard you can attach bodies on top of. As a ride-sharing vehicle, it can accommodate up to 12 passengers. However, as a cargo module, it can carry up to 10 pallets.

Here’s how the company describes its newest notional ride:

“Vision URBANETIC is a completely new mobility concept for the smart city where widespread fully automated driverless transport will exist or where purely autonomous zones will be defined.” Its interchangeable modules, which primarily address commuting and delivery, will take a huge amount of pressure off city centers, according to Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

“Vision URBANETIC is part of a holistic ecosystem. The system analyses the transport needs of people and goods and compiles a highly flexible, needs-based fleet.”

URBANETIC is only one of a handful of concepts that flirt with the idea of modularity. Cars that can be swapped out with different parts to provide different services is very promising. Suppose Mercedes-Benz miraculously produces it, its impact on the broader transport industry is unimaginable.

Besides the features mentioned above, the car also boasts a dynamic communications system. Interestingly, this system apparently captures and processes data in real time. As a result, it can determine what vehicles people need, and where. Game-changing stuff, truly.


Photos courtesy of Mercedes-Benz