Imagine a transportation system that is fully autonomous. Imagine it to be able to adapt to what they will carry, whether it be people or cargo. Mercedes-Benz has apparently thought of these and thus introduced Vision Urbanetics in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Vehicle autonomy is often greeted with a great deal of scepticism, but Mercedes would like to change this notion. The ability of machines to be able to communicate to humans around it and make its driving “intentions” known is what Urbanetics aims to address. By way of a massive IT infrasturcture, plus various camera and sensor systems, the vehicle fully perceives its surroundings in their entirety and communicates actively with it. Pedestrians who cross the street in front of it are informed by the large-format display in the front of the vehicle through special animations that they have been seen (or not), thus allowing humans to act (and react) appropriately.
But perhaps the biggest aim of Vision Urbanetics is to be able custom tailor the number of vehicles ferrying people and objects through city streets. The aforementioned IT infrastructure learns through time whether humans or objects are carried, during what times of the day, and what routes are taken. Given its centralized nature, the number networked vehicles that are dispatched will only be according to actual needs. Decongestion of streets is but an added benefit from Vision Urbanetics. Add the fact that its electric drive delivers zero-local-emissions mobility, it may be the perfect vehicle for city centers and areas. The virtually noiseless electric drive also presents new options for late or night-time deliveries and thus offers major economic potential.
Mercedes-Benz sets a very high and ambitious target with Vision Urbanetics. While it envisions relieving congestion from city streets, it also looks at fulfilling the growing mobility needs of humans and goods alike. Ultimately, what they aim for is an improved quality of urban life,with flexible and comfortable movement of people, efficient and sustainable transportation of goods, significantly lower noise and pollutant emissions and greater freedom in city planning.