Mercedes LCV Future Hopes to Tick All the Boxes

Mercedes-Benz Vans has unveiled its Vision URBANETIC light commercial vehicle concept combining autonomous, mobility and sustainable fuel powertrains technologies.

The automaker claims the concept “eliminates the separation between people moving and goods transport” and that “It enables on-demand, sustainable and efficient movement of people and goods”. Mercedes also claims it will reduce traffic for cities although how that squares with other existing bus and train solutions is unclear.

The concept is based on a self-driving, electrically powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for people moving or goods transport. The vehicle can accommodate up to twelve passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to ten EPAL pallets. A load space 3.70-m (12-ft 1-in) long fits into a total vehicle length of 5.14-m (16-ft 8-ins). It incorporates an IT infrastructure that analyzes in real time the supply and demand within any specific area so that a self-driving fleet plan routes to meet current transportation needs.

Mercedes says the system can also ‘learn’ from past transportation demands at periods of heavy demand in the urban environment. The automaker says its driverless function should go some way to alleviate and increasing lack of commercial drivers, highlighted by one German trade magazine which voted “fahrermangel” (lack of drivers) the 2017 Logistics Word of the Year.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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