It's not just cars that are going autonomous. Vans will eventually benefit from auto-pilot tech, at least in Mercedes-Benz's vision of the future. Mercedes-Benz Vans calls it Vision URBANETIC, and they say it eliminates the separation between people moving and goods transport.

Mercedes-Benz's future van looks like a mobile shipping container

How does it work? The van has a single platform and it is powered by pure electric drive. From the platform, the body itself is interchangeable, meaning those who need to carry people or cargo will only have to use one van. Also, it's driverless, meaning you can haul as much cargo as needed and the vehicle can go to a set destination.


Mercedes-Benz's future van looks like a mobile shipping container

The passenger van version has a round shape and has a flushed sliding door design. Again, it is driverless so all occupants inside can relax and let the van bring them to where they have to go. As for the cargo version, it resembles a mobile shipping container. Since there's no need for a driver, the cargo version of the concept van has no windows. All the space inside is devoted to whatever cargo that will be loaded inside.

To keep the vans on track, the concepts incorporate an IT infrastructure that analyzes in real time the supply and demand within a defined area. Maps are loaded into the system and the vans are then set out to carrying out their respective tasks, be it carrying people or cargo. The system also checks for traffic jams to make travel more efficient, and also scans crowd density to bring more vans in the area if needed. Mercedes-Benz says the system can react flexibly and is not based on rigid routes or fixed timetables.