The Mega-Skateboard

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With the Vision study Urbanetic Mercedes shows something of the future of commercial vehicles. The Transporter will during the day, driving the minibus at night as a courier, truck – and pretty soon.



Tom Grünweg

Tom Grünweg

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Monday, 10.09.2018
At 14:31

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Volker Mornhinweg has a Problem: He sells too many cars. Clearly, the head of the Mercedes Van division, is happy about every Euro of sales. But he also knows that each box car and more, the cities closer to the traffic gridlock. The urbanization is progressing, metropolises, Megacities.

Therefore, transporters are to be used in the future to be more efficient. How this could go, shows Mercedes at the IAA commercial vehicle show in Hanover, the on 20. September starts. The study Vision Urbanetic to solve many urban problems at a stroke: it is electrically powered, autonomously, and is controlled from a networked Central needs. The more than five metres long, the car should be in the Format of the current Sprinter clean, quiet and safe, and only travel when it is really needed.

Photo gallery

Study Mercedes Vision Urbanetic:
Transport trio

So that’s as often as possible, he can use them for different purposes: With constructions which can be changed within a few minutes automatically to a large extent, the Urbanetic either as a robot Bus or as a runaway courier truck. It is believed Manager Mornhinweg, benefit from this concept all the parties Involved:

  • The cities and their citizens because, without empty trips, less traffic, less exhaust fumes and noise, liquid flows and is safer.
  • The vehicle owner, because they can use their expensive capital goods now even more efficient and last longer. For a van without the driver’s cab offers more space for people or packages. In addition, the concept allows the Transporter as a Bus and as a delivery wagon to drive – and, therefore, the use of around-the-clock. Neither the freight forwarder must pay attention to the working hours, nor the money for a driver to spend.
  • And Mercedes itself? “Sold, of course, fewer vehicles,” said Mornhinweg. “Because of the Trend from the vehicle to the System and service providers will accelerate,” Mornhinweg convinced. “The sources of revenue will change, but it will still be a very good business.” Customers no longer want to buy in the future, then only vehicles or transport kilometres, but also the intelligence behind it pay.

This refers Mornhinweg is a Trend that Car manufacturers follow in a long time: they wanted to convert to a mobility service provider that sells in addition to vehicles, even Services, says Stefan Bratzel of the University of Economics in Bergisch-Gladbach. This is the reason why almost all the manufacturers are trying, in the meantime, in the so-called Ride-Sharing, the Offer of Rides or Autonomous Shuttle services. Also Mornhinweg sees additional revenue opportunities: “This opens entirely new business models as a fleet Manager, Service provider, or a provider of integrated mobility solutions.”


The concept has a certain amount of effort: the car was based on a kind of Skateboard, in addition to the batteries and the electric motors, the electronics for Autonomous Driving velvet extendable Sensors is integrated. These protrude like the eyes of Insects from the Bug.


The platform is reminiscent of a Skateboard

It should be a kind of plug-in system within a few minutes the two bodies attach to, which could hardly be more different: In the cargo variant of the Urbanetic looks like a Rimowa suitcase on wheels. In the windowless box either to fit on two floors and ten Euro pallets or hundreds of packets that can be output by means of a special conveyor system and a valve individually to the respective receivers as in the case of a rolling pack station.

He should carry instead of a pack of people, is the rear axle a couple of inches, a hydraulic bucks the Container and on the rails it slides off the Skateboard. He makes space for the bus structure. Inside, it offers for a period of twelve persons, depending on the ride duration varies convenient: the Rear is a cosy Lounge, to the front only to what to Lean and in the middle seats with more than two meters of height in the room. “We wanted to create a lot of privacy and on the other hand, many new views,” says Wagener. From the outside it looks like a giant, futuristic Surprises.

Start of pilot projects in the next year

Also, the communication between the vehicle and the passengers thought design chief Wagener. Because there is no driver more, the announcements of power and not a Cockpit, could be read in the something floating at the car ceiling, a sort of halo, the Wagener “360 degree Halo Display”. On this waypoints or stops are displayed. If you want to know more about the Route or Offered in the Bus, his Smartphone at a certain point in the car, then the App for the Urbanetic opens and provides use of Augmented Reality – that is, the so-called augmented reality supplementary information through a display or Overlay.

Although the concept sounds like a distant Vision. However, it is believed Mornhinweg, then the future is at your fingertips. “Until something like this on the open road and without restrictions in the city traffic work, it may take a couple of years,” said the Van chief. However, on fixed routes in individual city districts or private works the grounds even earlier.

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