Mini Makes its Virtual AV Concept a Reality

Mini has made its driverless Vision Urbanaut virtual concept into a reality ready to show the world in Munich tomorrow.

The virtual concept announced in November 2020, has been turned into a physical model to premiere at the DLD Summer conference. Designed as an automated driving lounge, the vehicle’s focus is on the passengers rather than on the task of getting from A-to-B.

So different modes of interior experiences will cater for “Chill”, “Wanderlust” and “Vibe”. Fragrance, sound and ambient lighting will try to moment offer radically different passenger experiences from the same interior space. With Chill the car becomes a haven relaxation of high concentration work. The rear seat bench invites various seating and lying positions, the backlit Loop above it takes on an appearance inspired by a green forest canopy and can also be dimmed. In the central area, the circular instrument folds down to become a table lamp, eliminating displays or switches that might remind passengers they are in a vehicle.

Wanderlust, on the other hand, reminds passengers of the vehicle’s main either manually driven or driving with automated driving functions. Here the interior becomes the ideal place for driving the car, or being its passenger, and enhances the fun of travel. When the customer wants to drive themselves, a tap of a finger on the Mini logo brings out the steering wheel and pedals. The user interface on the central circular instrument also adapts its visuals alongside an animation of the route. Additional journey information, such as visitor attractions and arrival time, is also displayed.

Vibe focuses on entertainment where the central circular instrument becomes a media control center. An animation of graphic equalizers moving with the music is projected onto surfaces of the front, rear, wheels and Loop above the rear seat bench, creating a club atmosphere. Finally, there is the fourth option, the customizable “my moment”, which provides users with further scope for tailoring the interior design of the vehicle.

Bernd Körber, head of Mini, said: “With our eyes fixed on the future, we have developed an idea, with the Mini Vision Urbanaut, of how we can take the Mini attributes. It brings the user’s personal space into the car and opens up various possibilities for them, from creating an urban oasis to experiencing freedom in the ‘Wanderlust’ moment.”

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

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